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?