Georgians feel nature’s pull in sustainable living community
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — At the dead end of a dirt road in northeast Georgia, one local community has created its own neighborhood known as Earthsong within the wilderness.
The sustainable living community is tucked away in between small roads behind Athens’ Georgia Square Mall, The Athens Banner-Herald reported .
The land is used by the community’s nine residents as a garden, walking trail, library and elaborate homes - all made from the earth.
Founder Tina Tinsley refers to each resident by first name and usually knows what going on in their lives.
Those who find themselves in Earthsong are there because they felt the pull of the earth taking them there, Tinsley said.
In 1993, Tinsley packed up and moved to Alaska for four years. Before moving, she lived in Athens and worked at one of the largest medical practices in northeast Georgia.
In Alaska, she worked in psychiatric hospitals and helped design therapy programs for patients suffering from severe depression and anxiety, the Athens newspaper reported. Living for two years in the wilderness of Alaska changed her in ways she never predicted and helped her to discover who she really was, she said.
“I went to Alaska and fell in love with the place and the people,” Tinsley said. “I let my hair grow out, I didn’t have my nails done anymore. I just went and lived in the woods, in nature and just fell in love with the woman that is my true self.”
When Tinsley returned to Georgia, she drove to Athens Regional, where she had a job lined up, and thought back to her time in the wilderness.
“I drove into the parking lot, I got out of the car and I thought, ‘I can’t do this, it’s not me.’” she said. “All I wanted to do was pitch a tent and see clients.”
So she navigated to the land now known as Earthsong, pitched two tents, and lived in one for two years with the second acting as her office for her psychotherapy patients.
Known as the “tent lady,” Tinsley offered her patients blankets and an open ear as she helped others find the beauty within themselves. Twenty years later, she is still working as a psychotherapist for couples and those struggling with addiction. She sees patients in her home almost every day during the week.
“Within 15 minutes of being in a forest setting, your blood pressure changes, your heart rate changes, your brain chemistry begins to change. Within an hour, if you’re depressed - it’s lessened; your anxiety is greatly lessened,” Tinsley said.
Information from: Athens Banner-Herald, http://www.onlineathens.com