Mental Illness: But I Digress [poem]

It travels with us all, to death from birth

in ponderously slow progress

Unless light skin protects your worth,

a worth universal – but I digress.


And so, we carry truth silently

Spines charged 1-million volt

For value is in the visual –

to be Fine is to appropriate the Folk.


Based on relative importance

the rules we live by morph

rationalizing violence and

Dissonance in due course.


And off of progress we’re often thrown

by family, those close to us,

often with a groan

— and, again, we regress.


Mental illness is a shared thang

Capitalism certainly takes the blame*

I try changing for the better

but it’ll never help if we all stay the same**




*I’m pretty sure our economy needs to be more holistic/sustainable – avoiding that social, environmental and economic collapse, yo.

(I’m right there with you. I’m certainly not doing the greatest job of contributing to meaningful/sustainable change in the current economy either – well, maybe you live a 100% sustainable lifestyle, but for the vast majority relying on current economic infrastructure, larger change – on the federal level perhaps? – needs to be made before the Earth will start healing…


**Your silence will not protect you – Audre Lorde

(we need to change verbal/linguistic tools [words!] we ALL work with before we’ll see any real change – words got so much harder for me after the injury, but here’s to constant growth!)




     Melamed, Jodi. Represent and destroy: rationalizing violence in the new racial capitalism, Difference Incorporated/University of Minnesota Press, 2011.

     Leguizamo, John. Latin History for Morons, Netflix, 2018,

     “The Gang Turns Black.” It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. January 4 2017. 3 Arts Entertainment. Amazon Prime.

     Kroesbergen, Hermen. (2014) Ecology: its relative importance and absolute irrelevance for a Christian: A Kierkegaardian transversal space for the controversy on eco-theology. HTS Theological Studies, 70(1), 01-08.


{EDIT 11/19 – this post was edited to include works referenced}

Fungi Fridays: Unknown*


Unsure about the ID of these, and all my research on fungi foraging warns against picking any little brown mushrooms (called LBMs). Nice to look at, regularly not so nice to eat 🍴 the little brown ones are commonly difficult to ID and land many a brave soul in the hospital. They’re a huge reason why many adults tell children all mushrooms are poisonous (when it’s not nearly that simple, but I get it – better safe than sorry!). It’s possible they’re edible, but not likely enough to chance it without further info. I’m thinking they might be mycena? I have no clue though ><


Genus: Unknown

Species: Unknown

Edibility: Unknown

Disclaimer: This site is provided for informational purposes only. Taylor assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences of readers actions. Though every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, identifications may be incorrect (Taylor is a novice) – but that’s where community input helps! Please, feel free to correct misinformation you find (or just add your two cents) in the comments!
Happy foraging!

(Forageworthy) Fungi Flashback Friday: Pleurotus ostreatus*


Pleurotus ostreatus

It’s (F)FFF Time!

You may remember this image from a post I made earlier 🙂

I fondly recall the dinner made from these oysters. I’ve had store-bought oysters and their flavor pales in comparison. How did I verify their edibility? Scent and physical characteristics like gill structure and surrounding environment (is it growing on a dead piece of wood? What kind of tree is the wood from? This stump was from an oak tree). Fried these babies with garlic, tasted JUST like bacon!

Find more info to help you forage safely here (I love this site):


Genus: Pleurotus

Species: ostreatus

Edibility: Choice



*Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided for informational purposes only. You should consult a doctor or mycologist for any medical or scientific advice concerning the fungi covered here. assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequence resulting directly or indirectly for any action or inaction you take based on or made in reliance on the information, services, or material on or linked to this site. Though every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, identifications may be incorrect (Taylor is an amateur), but that’s where community input helps. Please, feel free to correct misinformation you find (or just add your two cents) in the comments!
Happy foraging!

Your Destination Should be Your Journey

I said in a previous post that I’d write an article about never taking life for granted and enjoying the journey. Many folks know I was injured by a drunk driver last October and sustained moderate Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). I’ve been glad to report that the improvement process has been going extremely well. Sometimes I have trouble navigating conversations and expressing myself verbally (especially in group gatherings with many conversations and actions happening simultaneously) and my balance still isn’t what it used to be, but I’m trying new ways of doing the things that used to come easily to me and steadily improving these newfound methods.

One thing that has helped immensely – and we’ve all heard this before – is regarding the journey as my destination. It’s taking an extraordinary amount of patience to deal with the setbacks in life inevitable for any TBI survivor, and I’m getting through the discomfort, unhappiness, offense, and other emotions I’ve associated with the circumstances of this incident. It bears saying that I haven’t always viewed being in touch with your emotions as a necessary quality of life. I’ve been raised by strong women who have encouraged me show as little weakness as possible, and emotions are often interpreted as a sign of weakness in American society. However, this injury has increased my capacity for compassion. Now, more than ever, I cry about my own plights and the plight of others.

I now fully accept and expect to deal with heavy, difficult emotions (mine and others’) as part of my journey. We can subdue our feelings, but don’t be surprised when you develop bald spots on your scalp, develop nervous habits, contract idiopathic Ulcerative Colitis, or become subject to anxiety attacks (all releases of tension and anxiety that I’ve personally experienced at some point in my life). I will cry in public at the drop of a dime if I find reason to – and unapologetically so. It’s gotten me into some sticky situations recently, this intimacy I have with my emotions. My PDE (Public Display of Emotions). But things always turn out fine. I’m never hurting anyone. But it seems obvious now that folks don’t make much space for emotions in daily life.

Emotion and self-reflection get a bad rap. I’ve got some news for everyone: whether or not we see and understand the benefit of engaging our emotions and engaging in self-reflection, they are a part of ALL our journeys. People often distance themselves from folks displaying raw emotion; it’s kind of sad in my honest opinion (however: if a person’s being emotionally manipulative, that’s not worth your time). It’s time for us to feel confident about our real, buried feelings. It’s time to make space for the rage, anger, passion, jealousy we and others may feel lest these emotions manifest in some way that endangers our surroundings. We would perceive the world quite differently without senses of smell, touch, sight. Let’s find out what we have to gain by exploring our inner worlds. That’s one of toughest things to do: be utterly and completely honest with yourself about yourself. Our inner dimensions, the worlds we refrain from displaying, are some of the most important parts of our truest selves, and while something may have made you want to hide today, your story could save someone’s life. Your story could start the conversation that needed to be had.

Or you may find that you don’t enjoy spending time with yourself. And those who can’t seem to make time for self-reflection should consider their life situations deeply (if you don’t even like you, who could expect to?). There are many times when I find something to dislike about myself. But that’s the first step: I can’t change my behavior effectively if I don’t ever reflect on my behavior. How would I know what I’m changing? So I practice radical love of the world (and thus, myself) by engaging in critical self-reflection. It’s helped me develop and improve in ways I didn’t know were possible. It’s an integral part of my journey, and, though there may be pit stops in sight, the destination can never be known. Onward!

Travel Theme: Trees

Time for another Travel Theme post! Topic: Trees.

I am especially glad to focus on trees in this week’s theme; they’re the earth’s lungs, and humans often underappreciate plants in general – taking time to spotlight trees is nice. As you might know, we’re facing a drought in California and, perhaps more alarmingly, the sixth mass extinction – this extinction means trees (not to mention many other organisms!) are losing their habitats, which lessens the amount of water that precipitates. Lessening precipitation only worsens that drought. Trees are a huge provider of what is arguably our most precious resource, which I find to be more than enough reason to care about trees, and plants in general. Maybe you’ll be inspired by this post to dig deep and plant a tree,  or start a garden! Enough textual endorsement – some of my favorite tree images are below; hope they inspire you as much as they inspire me!

First up, the gnarled roots of a Muir Woods tree, extending up and out into the beaten path as if to grab wandering passersby:

Gnarled roots at Muir Woods

Next up,  we’ve got what struck me as an interesting formation in the bark of another Muir Woods tree. It struck me that a barkine wizard was escaping the confines of this trunk – what does it look like to you?

Resembles a barkine wizard to me, look like anything to you?

Barkine wizard emerging from a tree in Muir Woods

These trees grew together to form mazes in their canopies; there are so many paths in the leaves! Canopies are always unique and beautiful.

Canopy mazes at Muir Woods

Canopy mazes at Muir Woods

Speaking of, these trees’ canopies form a person’s figure in their negative space – or a cross maybe? I suppose it depends on who’s looking 🙂

Person’s figure, or a cross, in negative space of canopies at Muir Woods

This was SUCH an awesome formation of trees; they grew together to form walls, and at one point there’s an opening you can crawl through (that dark point on the picture near the earth/center of the photo). It was certainly a fascinating place to have lunch!

“Tree Room” at Wildcat Canyon

And finally, we have a huge two-canopied tree at Wildcat Canyon. Always so much interesting, wonderful life at Wildcat Canyon – was definitely in awe of this beautiful tree.

Huge two-canopied tree at Wildcat Canyon

This has been my take on Ailsa’s wonderful tree travel theme; see it here:

Big thanks to Ailsa for stating that it was Arbor Day – Happy Belated Arbor Day! (Totally forgot!) Apparently, National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on best tree-planting times in their area. Here’s to trees!

In peace, Taylor

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.

~Willa Cather

In a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike.

~ Paulo Coelho

‘I am not afraid’: Thousands march for murdered Putin critic Boris Nemtsov [photos]

I’m currently reading “Black Prophetic Fire” by Cornel West and Christa Buschendorf. It’s a book consisting of 6 conversations profiling historical Black folks (Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, MLK Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X, and Ida B. Wells) who fearlessly and compassionately faced both the evils of the world and the powers that be. My heart goes out to those fearlessly and compassionately facing the evils of the powers that be in Russia. We are one.