Routine and Ritual

My mother always told me that it was good to have a life bordered by regular daily routines. She learned will power and firm resolve when she was in the Hitler Youth in Germany. The Youth program was all about self discipline and strong bodies. Hitler was growing a powerful army out of those school children.

My mother’s grammar school teachers taught her the importance of daily calisthenics, and of handwork and needlework. Far into her 50s, she would do pushups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks at her bedside each morning. And her entire Wall Street wardrobe from back in her early years was all knitted by hand, seemingly spilling out of the large basket of yarn she kept by her living room chair. She made coats, two-piece suits, blankets, dresses, and all my baby clothes… Continue reading

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Starvation

Nourishment
Comfort
Warmth
Strength
Mental clarity
Hope
Sustenance
Vitality
Refreshment
Life

All these tender-filled words can be associated with Food. Food: that which sustains and nurtures and brings comfort, warmth, and hope. When I worked for humane societies and wildlife rehab centers, I had plenty of opportunity to bear witness for creatures on the edge of starvation, who were do depleted, they had lost all interest in food, in life.

Back then, I had no idea how it would feel to be so very wasted in body and spirit. Now I know, and I will never forget.

Little girl with ducks reminds me of the joy of sharing

Two years ago, I went through six weeks of a treatment called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS, for severe depression. According to everything I read about the process, including all the information on the Mayo, Cleveland, and John’s Hopkins clinics, It was “safe, with very few minor side effects.” Continue reading

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Tree Medicine for Christmas

Just a few days ago, John and I took a forest walk and stopped to appreciate my favorite tree. Here she is in all her magnificence, with her thick, fern and moss dress, and her leaves bare. She is old and dying, but here’s the thing…

Grand old Dame of the Forest.

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Let’s Root for Roots!

Grab your trowel, and your dog. Digging is always more fun with company!

Autumn time is root time. At this time of year, all the “growing” energy of plants dips down deep into the roots, where the glowing energy of the core of the Earth is known and cherished by the soil and the roots she enfolds.

After the first frosts, root vegetables become sweeter. So, this is the time of year when I go digging for dandelion roots and dock. On a fine sunny day, there is such joy in plowing your hands deep into the dirt to loosen these nutritious, looooooong roots that are so deeply nourishing to our systems.

Dandelions and dock roots are cleansers and tonics of the liver, spleen, and kidneys. They are nature’s gift to us at the closing of the year—medicine for us to drink all winter, toning and healing our innards.

Here is a link to the many wonders of dandelion roots: … Continue reading

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SITTING WITH THE ENEMY

Someone in this photo is not like the others. Yes, this is a yellow jacket, head down in a honeycomb, side-by-side with hundreds of bees. I watched this scenario for a long time yesterday, with my butt planted on the patio dresser that is right in front of Valentine’s colony that lives in my room.

This bee hive is constructed between two studs in my room, and fitted with a double glass panel, so I am able to observe these bees without bothering them all year long. Right now, with all the smoke we’ve had, and the terrible winds before them that destroyed a lot of the flowers and plants in our yard, I am assisting my bees with food—combs of honey I’ve saved from hives that have perished. In this way, the bees who came and went are helping their sisters in this time of havoc… Continue reading

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Hops Tincture for Good Sleep and Less Befuddlement

Gathering the goods.

I’ve been waiting to gather my hops blossoms, and I missed the peak period for picking because a huge unexpected wind storm sort of blew the peak right out of my flowers, but I am trusting them to be good enough for what I need them for.

A couple of weeks ago, after many weeks of feeling aggressive, impatient, and cranky, I found myself sitting in front of a lovely, steaming cup of fresh hops tea with a splash of valerian root tincture in it. I had been reading that hops might help me with my awful, disruptive mood. And so I sat with that cup in my two hands and did a quick inventory of my feelings: disgusted? Check. Wanting to scream at certain people? Check. Hopeless? Check… Continue reading

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Gifts of the Season: Autumn

I’ve yet to step into the yard in the early morning, and sense that crispness in the air and in the light and shadow that speaks “autumn” to me in so many ways.

But she is on her way. I know this. The plants are telling me. Their stalks, dappled and dry, say “Any day now…” Yellowed leaves at the bottom of the trees and shrubs join in the chorus, “Soon the rain will come.” The hard ground is not so easy on my bare feet as the sponginess of spring soil. “It was glorious,” say the spent flower heads already dropping seeds onto the soil like precious coins. “Thank you…” say the insects in the yard, their soft songs filling me with delight that I have fed them all so well this season. Continue reading

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Chris and the Coop

Chris plays with a tiny bit of straw

I’m sitting on the floor of the duck coop, where I’ve taken Chris outside for the first time. We don’t have an adequate housing for her outside, so she’s been housebound for these first weeks.

Bella, the muscovy, is sitting on eggs in the upper “deck” of the coop, so I’ve shut the door between the two so she can have her privacy. Earl, meanwhile, is standing in front of the coop, watching all these proceedings with great curiosity. Carter, too, is wondering what I’m doing sitting in duck poop, watching Chris… Continue reading

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Trust

It feels as if the world has tossed herself up into the air, fracturing into billions of intricate puzzle pieces, all of which are now drifting down among us, asking to be recast into a new picture.

Amidst all the upheaval of Covid 19 and the BLM protests, I have had some upheaval of my own. While it sometimes feels icky, upheaval is always for the best in the end, I say… Continue reading

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God’s Refrigerator

I read a while back that the Dali Lama was stunned when he was told that people in the west suffer from the lack of self-love and acceptance. Since learning of this, he has said that it is vitally important that all people develop this inner source of love, and that until they do, they cannot advance spiritually. One must first be grounded in love of self before one can step up and genuinely love the rest of the world.

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