Gwen Tuinman




In Search of the Forest Primeval

In the summer of 1979, I sang along when Dan Fogelberg’s love song Longer played on the radio. He loved the object of his affection ‘deeper than any forest primeval’. What could be more compelling to a fifteen-year-old girl pining for romance. I then equated primeval with a dark European forest, thick with moss and trees old as time.

Years later, it was poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who brought the forest primeval closer to home. During a visit to Cape Breton Island, I purchased a copy of his epic poem, Evangeline, the tale of Acadians’ expulsion from Nova Scotia.

This is the forest primeval. 
The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, 
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight. 
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic, 
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
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Healthy Soil: The Answer to Climate Change?

Following traumatic events in my life, I’ve sought therapy. I needed to find my inner voice, my true north. What I appreciated most about these sessions was the therapist’s restraint in telling me outright how to fix my situation. Instead, she guided me toward discovery of answers buried inside me the entire time. I couldn’t dig up those truths alone because they hid beneath layers of history, pain avoidance, and the distracting minutiae of daily life.

Oprah says when things go wrong, the universe whispers to us. If we don’t pay attention, it speaks louder and louder. We’re all hearing the volume turn up on the climate change issue. The earth is suffering the effect of trauma. When humans mistreat the environment, consequences of climate change fall squarely on other humans. We’ll find answers to heal what we’ve broken. Have faith.

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