Muddy Paw Troll

Muddy Paw Troll

Last Thursday was full of prickly energy – Mercury retrograde snuck up on me. I don’t usually have the significant electronic or communication challenges that this event brings about for others. However, I am keenly aware of the energetic shift, especially for those in my close circles. The little things that are navigated easily most other days – quickly become the straw that broke the camel’s back.

These points of ignition can happen quicker than the lift off of a rocket and with greater force.

Add being behind schedule, a tired teenager and a last minute wardrobe malfunction on the way to 2015-09-17 18.54.40the day’s last event – Huston, we have lift off.

My daughter and I offer each other opportunities to see what it is like to process life’s events differently. I am all in and she is all out.

As soon as the van door slammed and she exclaimed, I hate you; my initial thought was to drive to the nearest bar serving tequila and death by chocolate cake. Then I moved on to running away from home to find a place far away with the cake or maybe some cream filled doughnuts.

As I drove away I rolled the windows down to let the smoke clear and the breath deepen.

The next thing I knew, I was entering the parking area of a nearby restored wetland, Muddy Paws Marsh. This was my first visit, so I took my phone and keys as I headed out to the dock.

As the rocket fuel stench dissipated, I began to notice the beautiful flowers and buzzing bees along the widely groomed trail.

When I stepped onto the raised wooded walk I began to hear splashes and rustling in the tall stalks. Snakes, muskrats, man eating snapping turtles, frogs or fish…I may never know.

The green dense layer of algae was alive, and I was certain a troll was under the walk way just waiting to gobble me up. The tipped over chairs and previously lit torches set the stage for a sacrificial scene out of a Stephen King novel.

I turned into the setting sun as I searched for the source of the quacking.

A sudden peaceful state ensued and my breath became full again. I watched the tiny clear swirls in the water as I hopelessly scoured the surface for the origin of the splashes.

I tiptoed off the walk to avoid waking the troll and began down one of the groomed trails.

I found more flowers, a rabbit and some very knotty apples. It was soon time to return to the launch pad and take the astronaut home. My shoes were wet, breath deep, mind clear and a sense of accomplishment because I was able to achieve all of this without tequila or chocolate.

By Friday night I began to notice small red dots on my legs and arms.

Sunday brought the itch and swelling. I knew immediately from the strategic location that the marsh experience was still with me. The now visible marks from those dastardly no-see-ums were bringing forth a powerful reminder.

Our environment affects us in ways that we don’t always recognize right away.

The little things in life can create irritation. When there are many little nuisances that are left unresolved, we develop a reaction much more intensely than if we could address it in the moment.

You know how the story goes….the straw that broke camel’s back is not about that last straw but the weight of all the straw. My topical reaction to being a no-see-um buffet is a wonderful philosophical canvas … being gnawed on by microscopic beasts is similar to navigating every day challenges. My next visit to Muddy Paws Marsh will include long pants, long sleeved shirt and some organic bug repellant.

How do you cope with daily stress?

Do feel like you are being eaten by the no-see-um’s in life?

Check out the calendar of events for upcoming workshops and classes.

Blessings for all the very best.


  • jennbuckwalterjbuckwaltersfinc3
    Posted at 08:23h, 26 September Reply

    Lol! I love your vivid descriptions! Seriously though, I’m so glad you were able to focus on your breath and come back to the present. And…YAY Muddy Paws! I love it there, I always find peace when I visit. And of course!: I’ve been having a rough go of it since Friday too. It happened so quickly and I didn’t know why. I totally forgot that Mercury is in retrograde! And until October 9th. I’m proud of you for ditching the chocolate and alcohol, and for finding some peace among the trolls. And among the frogs, turtles, bunnies, birds… Peace Beth 🙂

    • Beth Whitman
      Posted at 14:59h, 27 September Reply

      Thank you Jenn. Being in the moment and present helps everything seem easier.

  • Deb Placky
    Posted at 13:45h, 27 September Reply

    Thanks Beth, I will add Muddy Paws to my list of natural places that help heal me. Your words truly are inspirational. Thank you for writing for those of us out here listening And now I understand why this weekend has been so terrible–looking forward to October 10th.

    • Beth Whitman
      Posted at 15:00h, 27 September Reply

      Deb, thank you for the encouragement. Wear long pants….

  • jennbuckwalterjbuckwaltersfinc3
    Posted at 10:56h, 29 September Reply

    Also about Muddy Paws: make sure you can positively ID poison ivy. It likes to climb the trees by Penns Creek. Should you get in it, or even if you are not sure if you did, shower with Dawn dish detergent. And of course wash your clothes ASAP too 🙂 I think it’s 24 hours that you have to wash with Dawn to get the volatile oils off of your skin. Please don’t let this deter you though! Muddy Paws, to me, is a sacred place. I stood in and sat against poison ivy without realizing it while teaching there. Jim, from Penns Valley Conservation Association, pointed this out and suggested the Dawn shower. I did so, and never got the rash! Enjoy this beautiful and sacred place 🙂

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