In Awe of Puhpowee: Our Forests' Autumn Wonders
The rain let up for the afternoon, gifting us an easy play day in the forest of Seward Park with it’s old growth treasures. The wisdom encapsulated in the Anishinaabe word “puhpowee”* – the force that causes mushrooms to emerge from the earth overnight- danced along our path, as we chose to take notice of the mysteries of life that unfurl all around us.
As we roamed through the verdant understory, our eyes trained to the forest floor, we encountered a living mosaic of fungi. From the broad swirls of a golden Phaeolus schweinitzii (the coveted Dyer’s polypore) to the fantastical white globes exploding with bright red goo of the Hydnellum peckii, each find was a revelation of puhpowee in action – nature’s unseen yet palpable heartbeat.
The mushrooms we discovered, in all their diversity, were symbols of the forest’s vitality and the unseen networks that sustain it- a reflection of our own communities, interconnected and supported by subtle, unseen bonds.
In honoring puhpowee, we also honor the Anishinaabe and the many Indigenous peoples who hold deep knowledge of the land and its cycles. We are reminded to always to approach nature with respect, reverence, and a readiness to learn.
Our day in the woods was a living example of our mission to connect deeply with nature and each other, to build a world where each being has space to grow, and where the traditions and insights of all cultures enrich our understanding of our world, and shape our work.
Come join us as we continue to learn, connect, and grow. Together, we learn from the force of puhpowee – ever pushing upwards, reaching for the light, and sharing our gifts with the world.
*Puhpowee – Learned from Robin Wall Kimmerer from her book, Braiding Sweetgrass (2013). There is a version for teens available. In Seattle, all versions are available from our public library.