August. It's almost over. Its pace was brisk. It served to keep me focused... on the mystery... and on the ordinary. Every day I've been harvesting and preserving ~ from the gardens and from Life experiences ~ and with still much to come in the gardens I already have countless jars in my pantry selves to sustain me through the literal and figurative months ahead. And now, if history can be trusted, the pace will continue to quicken over the next two months. The season of Urgency approaches. And I welcome it. For rest follows it. Year after year.
And even as the days grow shorter, I find myself moving deeper into the warming rays of Life's light. And, as one who has a long history of embracing the loving shadows of Life, I find the experience both perplexing and welcomed. In my world, the flow of time isn't linear. Like sunrises and sunsets, moon waxings and wanings, it's an intriguing spiral of familiar mystery that comforts me. This journal spread is a silly expression of these things and I share it with you and my creative communities at Mix It Monthly, Paint Party Friday and Art Journal Journey.
So on these final days of August I'll do my best to keep up with the quickening pace of Life and Living, and make time to quietly enJOY the sunny blooms of the season.
It has been a strange and wonderful week in my little realm. A week filled to overflow with drama of the welcomed and less-than-welcomed variety. The skies have offered dramatic views; with passing storms, sunrises and sunsets that inspire gasps and sighs. And then some. These are moments of drama that I welcome, savor... and invite. Yet other silly and less welcomed moments offered me distinct reminders of life lessons and Wisdom born of experience. I embrace them all. The extremes and the subtle moments, too. And offer gratitude. For all of them.
So today I place a few finishing touches on this week's heART journal spread and I share it with you and my creative friends at Paint Party Friday (who I've missed, by the way).
With that I offer you this: Get out there. Do something. Anything. Go. Now. Do.
Merry August and welcome to the last full month of summer!
The tempo of the season is picking up pace on my little acre and I know that in August things will start revving up like mad, with the kinds of daily tasks that can not be rescheduled. As July came to a close, summer garden harvests began to find their stride. We harvested our garlic harvest and new seeds were planted for late summer and autumn harvests (and that continues).
Buckets of Beans
But now, August ushers in daily pickin's of beans, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, various herbs, and other gentler harvests that only demand attention every other day or so. As a grower of my own Food and Medicine it's not only a busy time, it's an exciting time. And for those of you who receive my newsletter, this is redundant, but it's true: The cycles of the seasons never cease to amaze and inspire me.
Cilantro, Daikon and a Wee Carrot
I project that August will be a challenging month for me, with classes, workshops, consultations, demonstrations, art and craft creating, and the tasks that fill my pantry... and I'm up for it!
June has been exceptionally busy. For me. Filled with events and workshops, comings and goings, garden demands and wild-harvesting, deliveries and doings, forgiveness and gratitude, associates and friends and loved ones.
No matter how I slice these experiences, Nature is present. With this realization, I was inspired to make myself a botanical Spirit Bundle, and figured if I'm making one, why not a few extra?
Today they get unwrapped and sit atop mugwort stems in the solar dehydrator for a final kiss of sunny drying.
I've been harvesting my local allies for food, craft fodder and Medicine. Today I have more Saint Joan's wort and violet leaf to harvest... among other botanical allies.
I was blessed over this past weekend with an intimate workshop to share the simplicity and empowerment of making one's own kombucha. This experience offered an opportunity to re-meet (that's right, re-meet) a lovely local woman who, as serendipity would have it, raises angora rabbits to spin her own fiber and consequently has a bunny "waste" management challenge. And there I am... with my compost. So bunny "waste" has been added and the compost pile turned for the first time this season. Connections/relationships steer it all!
I was blessed with some art time over the weekend. Craft time, too.
And actually began a new spread in my art journal. Such amazing Medicine this is, giving mind and heart to the busy-ness of June and to the coming of July, a TaB (Take a Break) month for me, with only a few external commitments, and lots of time and space for Me, my gardens and preserving, my wild-harvesting, my herbs, my art, my loved ones. And my spirit. I especially look forward to rekindling my relationship with my botanical ancestors in some very intentional ways. When lay it out like this I wonder: What exactly is it from which I'm breaking? And I smile and feel ever so blessed.
I invest this final day of June in setting the tone and rhythm for the month ahead as I look forward its full arrival. I'll be kicking off the eve with a grilled feast of homegrown and local deliciousness, served outdoors, and tomorrow will be shared with my spouse and playtime at the studio, and Thursday's activities depend on the weather, yet will wind down with a visit to the opening reception for J. Timothy Quirk's wonderful art project, "Our Stories," for which I feel sweet gratitude in having been included.
So I whether I'm busy or breaking, I do feel blessed. Challenges and all.
Another busy week. 'Tis the season! I was away from my gardens and studio this past weekend, attending the International Herb Symposium. I learned some new stuff, make no mistake, and received validation of personal theories and practices. I was challenged and my brain got to bend and expand. My heart too. I had at least one AhHa! moment, though I'm still prettying-up my notes and who knows what will strike me as I continue plowing through them? I had fun, met folks from around the globe, made new friends, sang and listened and witnessed. I got to give and receive countless hugs, and simply... to Be in the presence of exceptional greatness ~ individual and collective.
I felt the familiar tribal-embrace that I'd not felt in more than a few years. I felt it deeply. And at the same time felt a deep loneliness too. I realized, with a distinct conscious awareness, that the call to return to the full service of my Rooted Ancestors was Real and Ripe. I suspected as much, and have been returning to those roots and realigning my dedication since my mother's passing, but now... now it's time to ratchet it up.
It's uncertain where this call will lead me, but this week I've rededicated myself to morning ritual that is already opening my eyes and my heart to potential. Potential to add value to this skewed world we share. And I am grateful.
Strolling in Witness around my little acre is on my agenda for this morning, along with planting more seed and transplanting more seedlings. And as I tend to this nurturance I will express my prayers to be a worthy witness to the song of the plants, my botanical allies, the Rooted Ancestors, so that I may be their voice in these strange, disconnected times we live in.
And in these realizations, rediscoveries and revelations I see a garden of toil and ecstatic delight. And like the calling, I am Ripe and Real and Ready.
It's been a busy week, and then some, and it ain't over yet. Monday kicked off with tying up loose threads and recovering from a wonderfully busy weekend at Whiting Mills' Open Studios. I did manage to start harvesting some beautiful Trifolium pratense, a practice that will continue on dry days throughout the season.
The gardens are picking up momentum, offering me opportunity for daily harvests as I continue planting. I remind myself that this momentum fires up and excellerates, so I mentally prepare.
Some plants are already hitting their stride and preparing for their next phase of life, like these egyptian (walking) onions. My small patch of chickweed, which I'm tending with expectation for expansion is almost done flowering and seeding, and is preparing for her summer rest before returning later in the season. Lucky little wench. Yet, she, like the onions, remind me: All things in their own time, space, and at their own pace.
This reminder comforts and calms me, as I push on to complete a busy June schedule, knowing that July is a TaB month for me ~ a "Take a Break" month ~ where I scale back workshops, events and other offerings as I turn my focus on home, hearth, me. The hop strobiles will likely make their appearance during my TaB month. How fitting.
There's not much time for making art, though I still exact some discipline to journal and sketch. When my waking-day begins to fade, I enjoy evening strolls around my little acre... my little manor... around the spaces I call my little meadow, my little forest. The experience is, to me, a form of creation, of art. And I offer gratitude, deep and broad, for this blessing.
As the week winds down, I will wind up. I'll be hitting the road before the crack of dawn on Friday to pick up my dear friend, Kim of Raven's Edge, LLC, to head north and east to attend the International Herb Symposium. For years I've longed to attend this. For years I've had other life obligations. The source of those obligations has moved on, and I find myself able to feel my roots again, to sink them deep, to grow, blossom, fruit and reclaim some desired sweetness in life. And again: More gratutude.
I live a charmed life. It's not an easy life, as some folks perceive, yet it's a life I dream, do and manifest... and I wouldn't have it any other way.