Friday, June 19, 2009

My heart in the palm of your land.

In the center of the chaos, stress, and struggles of life, there remains a special place. It's a place that breathes new life into me the moment I set my feet on the ground. This place is a tapestry of forest, meadow, wetlands, and every kind of terrain you might find in New England.

In the mornings, If I get there early enough, the mist curls around the mountains like a morning steam facial; the leaves reaching for the kiss of moisture. The trails are sometimes flooded, and the cherry trees are the biggest I've ever seen. Aside from my own home, it's the land I've watched over the last three years. I've watched the Nettles cover fields, and the poison Ivy grow angry patches along the mowed edges. The Groundhogs have reproduced three generations and are now the animals which greet all the newcomers as they arrive. The landscape has blossomed a million wild roses, and given heaping pots full of ramp stew. It's given deep mentorship to the most extraordinary people I've ever met.
Along the high waterfall, the red efts hide under their log huts, while the solomon's seal flickers in the cool shade of the hemlocks. The birch saplings bear the sweetest leaves for chewing. The wintergreen crawls along the edge of the cliffs like green lace along the mossy shawl. In the forest circle, the dewdrops linger like little fairies on a sleep-in morning. The bobcats leave signs but never show their face. I know the bear are not far.
The edge lining the river rolls into a thorny stand of black locust... so tall it's only a matter of a strong storm before they timber over. The beaver have abandoned this small valley, moving upstream to riper lands. They've dammed the brushy area where the kingfisher lives, along with the snakes, turtles, frogs, and songbirds. The great blue heron makes her way up and down the river way. In the beaver's wake are stands of coppiced willow, cattail, and stately blue vervain. The cottonwoods lay across the water.
It's here - despite the conventional pressures of making business work - of striving to impart this same sense of wonder to children - where my heart opens. Despite my profound hatred of winter and my longing to include dance in my life again - on this land my heart opens. The generosity of the Mugwort and the sound of the tumbling waters and a place where my beloved medicines grow everywhere.... lining the walkway as if welcoming me home, how could I not?
It's the land I know the best out of all the places I've been .... and it never ceases to astonish me. I don't know if I'll ever be able to serve this land, the way it serves me.
Who knows what seeds I'm planting. Who knows where it will take me?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer Herbal Intensive

I am offering an Herbal Intensive for adults this Summer. It will be once a week (Wednesdays) for seven weeks, 9am - 3pm. I am very excited and I hope some of you can join me.

It will take place where I work, Great Hollow Wilderness School, in New Fairfield, CT. The land is enchanted and we will get to see plenty of it, since this course will not take place indoors. We will be on the land for the entire time aside from snippets where we may need a kitchen. All other heating will be over a campfire.

We will learn first hand from the plants, and use all our senses to gain information. We will hike through different habitats and examine them. We will learn some simple botany, plant families, and practical herbal wisdom. We will teach each other, get wet in the river, harvest and prepare medicinal and edible plants growing in abundance. We will cover a lot of material, yet it will be simple, digestible and applicable in everyday life. Indexing, journaling, and homework will be implemented. We will also be exploring herbal energetics, vocabulary for the herbalist, and probably a few unknown surprises too. :)

Herbal Intensive for beginners, ages 18 + 
Wednesdays June 24 - August 5, 9 am - 3 pm
Fee $ 450, deposit required

Green Blessings!