4.13.17 Born Again

Trout lily 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

Since the last time I wrote, just a few weeks ago, spring has arrived. Even now, a plague of iridescent grackles is strutting about the yard, two robins are colliding mid-air in a mating dance and the forsythia at the end of the drive is about to burst forth in a cloud of screaming yellow flowers. At night the racket made by the frogs is barely audible above the whoosh of rushing water, as every creek, brook and stream overflows from the snow melt and recent rains. Like the fiddleheads in their papery skins, I, too, am beginning to unfold and turn my face toward the sun. From the searching introspection of my darkest winter days has come a bright vision of the future. I have renewed optimism and my energies are focused on a new idea: The Outside Institute. I'm excited to share with you this fledgling venture that seems to be taking on momentum as the weather warms and the days grow longer.

Ferns forest 790 xxx
bath time

The mission of The Outside Institute is to help people connect to the healing and transformative powers of nature. I'll be offering guided hikes, plant walks and foraging, as well as picnics and private dinners that showcase local foods, both farmed and wild. I am also partnering with friends—including bird-watchers, photographers, bee-keepers and natural dyers—to create diverse outdoor experiences. The website should be up within the next week or so, with more information and details on how to sign up for a walk or book a custom itinerary. At the moment, any inquiries can be sent to info@theoutsideinstitute.org.

Mushrooms moss 790 xxx
shroom service

There is so much benefit to body, mind and spirit from being outside in nature. In Japan, the practice of shinrin-yoku, “forest bathing,” has been a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing for decades. It calms the nervous system, reduces stress and inflammation and lowers blood pressure. I would like to help people slow down, breathe deeply, hone their powers of observation and reconnect to a more primal state. As you know, I have transformed my own life through the regular practice of getting outside. Along the way, I have fallen in love with plants, fungi, ferns, mosses, birds and animals (including their tracks and their scat!). 

The author celebrating spring in a ramp patch 790 xxx

I am having such a great time exploring private and state lands to expand my repertoire of hikes, so I can offer a variety of lengths, levels of difficulty and distinct ecosystems. The Upper Delaware Valley has marshes, boreal bogs, forests, meadows, mountains and glorious waterways, including rivers, lakes and ponds. I hope you will consider venturing up/down/over to these parts to join me in real time. In the meantime, you can get updates here and here. Thank you, as always, for your support and for sending good vibes my way. Here's to fun with flora, fauna and fungi! xo



Wonderful news! I'm looking forward to your Institute! As a healing practitioner and nature lover, it is so moving to be able to immerse ourselves, and bring others into the healing environment, and beauty, that we are so fortunate to be surrounded by here in the Catskills. Happy Spring! Much love, T
Tamara on April 13, 2017 at 11:45 am —
Will you be adding an email list for notifications of hikes? If so, please add my email, would love to join a group! Thank you! T Laughingspirithawk@yahoo.com FB personal page Te D'Agostino FB pages Heart Stones and Riverside Studio
Tamara on April 13, 2017 at 11:51 am —
Yes, absolutely. I believe we connected on Facebook and I have you on the list. I look forward to meeting you! xo
laura on April 14, 2017 at 6:12 pm —
Cheers to the great outdoors...my daughter is tugging on me now to head out to play, so we are off. And tomorrow we will all be out there on our day off bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for some yard work. Happy trails!
thefolia on April 13, 2017 at 3:20 pm —
Ah yes, the garden beckons! xo
laura on April 14, 2017 at 6:13 pm —
Beautifully written, as always, and stunning photography. How wonderful! 😀 Sounds Marvelous! Congratulations on your new venture (love the name!) and wishing you every success. I would love to attend in the future. Although, sounds too good to not share with my daughter (five yrs!). Perhaps something to consider - involving children - once the business is thriving? 😉 Best wishes Georgina (The Netherlands)
Georgina on April 13, 2017 at 4:28 pm —
Of course children are welcome! This is for all ages. And one day, I will open The Outside Inn...
laura on April 14, 2017 at 6:14 pm —
hello from Australia. I am loving this idea. So good from a business point of view and such a lovely experience for participants. The natural environment is so restorative.
Christine on April 14, 2017 at 6:03 pm —
Thanks, Christine! xo
laura on April 14, 2017 at 6:14 pm —
I couldn't be more happy and excited for you and this brilliant new venture! I know this "new idea" is actually the idea that has been waiting for your discovery since you moved Upstate. You have found each other. xoxo, T
Tanya on April 18, 2017 at 8:17 am —
I think you're right! Thank you for your sweet words. xo
laura on April 18, 2017 at 8:29 am —
Hola querida dama, I am trailing behind you❤️❤️
Susan on May 29, 2017 at 9:44 pm —
So lovely to know you are out there! xoxo
laura on May 30, 2017 at 7:52 am —