lessons from the forest


Early Lessons


Driving too fast in a borrowed ‘74 Bronco down a steep mountain road, it was before 8, on a crisp early spring morning when she lost control. Over correcting twice, to avoid flipping over, 19 years old, she decided to just let go of the wheel. Hands free, looking out through the windshield at a skyline of alpine peaks against a cloudless blue sky and the Lake below, her last thoughts were of beauty and love. The Bronco left the Earth, floating weightless. Time stopped, she took a deep breath and closed her eyes, a slight smile curling up the edges of her mouth. Light sparkled across the Bronco’s chrome bumper, the lake rippled diamonds, the sun warmed sharp granite outcrops that surrounded the Lake like a crown. The truck pitched forward gently as the object began its descent. Below the road, between a grove of conifers and an enclave of cabins, the outstretched limbs of douglas fir tree caught the vehicle, halting the imminent crash five feet off the ground. The truck landed, swayed then held, the motor cut out, the tree’s branches cracked and groaned, settling under the sudden and profound weight of the Bronco and its driver. Motionless, she opened her eyes to see tree limbs scattered and draped across the hood of the Bronco. In the sudden stillness she realized she was alive and breathing. Her heart beat pulsed in her ears drowning out the sound of birds. Warm blood flowed blue, brimming with proteins, iron, and oxygen streamed through her veins connecting organs, soul and skin. She opened the drivers side door, and found the ground freshly exposed from recently melted snow, forgiving and fragrant, Sierra soil smelling of pine, honey and tangerine. Stepping outside the very truck that could have been her tomb, listening to the sound of birdsong returning, the air around her warming with the new day, she realized she’d been saved by the tree.


FOrest Time

February 19, 2019 Forest Time: Fire University of Washington, Bothell June 12- 16, 2019 Forest Time: Fire On the Boards, Seattle WA August 10, 2019 Forest Time: Fire Sagehen Experimental Forest, Truckee CA

September 22, 2019 Forest Time: Water I-Park, East Haddam CT May, TBA, 2020 Forest Time: Water Western Washington University, Bellingham

“Forest Time is a new eco-feminist sci-fi rock opera about sticky entanglements across ecologies, economies, and time-scales. This performance, made over the course of 3 weeks on site at I-Park, is the second in the series based on the 4 natural elements Air, Water, Earth and Fire. It is a first glimpse at what will become Forest Time: Water. We are all water-babies. Bodies of water. 85 percent at birth, we lose nearly 50% over the course of our life-times. Like the recently completed Forest Time: Fire, this chapter features original music, spoken word, interactive sculpture and video, and draws on current climate change data, forest science and science fiction to create an interdisciplinary performance all about one of the elements, in this case Water and how it relates to forest hydrology, the human body, ecological and political relationships and Love. Water is like love. Without it we perish. Too much, love or water, mismanaged or misdirected, we’ll drown.”

S.K.Petrenko, September 19, 2019 for the I-Park Site Responsive Beinnale



by the new urban naturalists