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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Welcome to July

What goes around, comes around. We are born, we live, we die, to be reborn. Spirals of life and living...

Spirals have been swirling around me in increasing numbers, and at increased velocity. The vibrations ripple over and through my being, my life, my world in ways that can not be ignored or denied. Truths, some long known, yet dismissed or ignored, are winding around me and tripping me up so that I must take notice, and action. 

The tripping truths are holistic, encompassing all parts of my life, distant, close, closer, and up-close 'n' personal. 

That said, it is with a heavy and grieving heart that I share with you that I am closing the brick 'n' mortar at Whiting Mills. I will continue to tend to the needs of my engaged School of Botanical Wellness students, current clients, and dedicated customers, and some online offerings will endure as well. I shall do my best to continue to support you all in the generous spirit in which you've supported me over the years.

Walk in the Woods has transformed many times over the past 26+ years, and it's transforming yet again. I encourage you to let me know what you most wish to learn from my experience, as it is teaching and helping others remember that which keeps fading in the shadow of capitalist greed that most motivates me. Now, more than ever, it is time for us to recall the wisdom of the earth, our grand mother, beloved Nona Gaia, to rally our collective strength to bring about positive change for a change. It is not time to go along as if everything is just fine. It is not time to return to some perceived normalcy. It is not time to hide. It's not been any of these things for a very, very, very long time. If, at all, ever.

Change can be good. Let it be so. May we embrace it. For a change.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

A Long-ago Graveyard of Privilege

I didn't grow up in Georgia. I grew up in Seaford, Delaware. Recent social intensities resurfaced a memory buried in a long-ago graveyard of privilege. White privilege. This post triggered a need to (start to) express that resurfaced memory. The memory may be flawed, and certainly narrow, but the essence, I'm confident, it not.
I had to dig out my 1973 high school yearbook to find his full name. I had to. I remembered his first name, it was Leslie, and he was a senior when I was a freshman. He was a star academic and athlete headed to college... headed toward a future. Only he wasn't.
The short story goes like this: He went fishing with his to-be father-in-law. There was an accident. He drowned. He was a young black man recently engaged to his white high school sweetheart.
I remember the hushed murmurs of young and old alike that floated on the undercurrents in the underworld social structure of that little town. And that's as much attention as it got. Life, at least the whites lives, went on in usualness.
This teenage memory, buried in that ugly graveyard resurrected over these past few weeks. And with it the shame, the horror, the complicity of that little town. And of mine.
I hear and see a lot of talk about history these days. There should be, as the lies of the so-called victors, with all the shame, horror, complicity and worse are resurrected, and rightfully burned, and torn down to a rubble. A rubble from which, if we choose, we might build something else. Something better. Something just. Something that, when it weeps, it weeps with joy, with love, and not with shame, horror, and complicity.
There's more work for me right here in this memory, and elsewhere. If you're white and you're reading this, I ask you, no - beg you - to do the work as well.
With that, I bid you the capacity to carve out time and space to enJOY the last of the vernal breezes, and to light a blaze to the arrival of the summer sun that burns to ash all that does not nurture and sustain. All.

Sunday, May 31, 2020


I'm reflecting on the gifts of May. The sweet. The bitter.

As June approaches, and with it more planting, harvesting, and the many threads that lace together those allied and antithetical activities - in the ALL of the gardens - I'm giving conscious attention to the most steadfast patterns around me, especially - if not exclusively - to those present in the gardens, in Nature, in the expressions of Nona Gaia. Expressions of evolution and constancy.

And they reflect in every other aspect of life. The sweet. The bitter. 

NoJustice. NoPeace. 🕊

Friday, May 1, 2020

Welcome May, The Lusty Month

While I'll miss gathering around a Beltaine fire with my comrades this year, the tree-huggin', backyard farmer in me still revels in the sexy verve that swells and explodes in this springtime month. So far, the season has been chill and damp, and some buds, like dandelion and violet are just starting their blooming. And I'm grateful. In the garden proper, the garlic is thriving, the onion plants are settling in, the first batch of three varieties of potatoes are in the earth, and six plants each of Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and kale are planted. Other starts are hardening off, seedlings are being transplanted, and seeds continue to be planted in the greenhouse, and in the earth. Perennials and self seeders are delighting me as well.
That said, for my local friends, I'll have some plants available (free/PWYW) for pick-up at my home. So far there's motherwort, lemon balm, borage, calendula, and nigella potted up, and more in the works. So if you're interested, contact me and I'll be sure to leave some plants for you on the bench in my front yard. ::nods::
As for studio happenings, there are none. Yet I've taken to Zoom, as so many have, with our two regular "Tea 'n'" gathers. Folks have asked about classes, yet most of what I offer doesn't translate well to a Zoom format (what with so much hands-on 'n' all), so I'm conjuring something a bit different...
lettuce patch 'n' first potato patch
Our current situation has really bubbled to the surface the fact that we all have skills. Every damned one of us. Whether we know it or not. Many of you are are playing with new experiences, developing new skills, as well as honing existing abilities. In this reality, we all, every single one of us, have something of value to share, every single one of us has the capacity to be among our Knowing Neighbors.
cabbage babes
That said, join us for our first Knowing Neighbors session this month, featuring two Connecticut fiber artists, Doreen Breen of Soul Threads, and Sarah Castrovinci of A Stitch in Time Designs - two neighbors worth knowing who know a thing or two! 
brassicas ready to plant
Moving forward, we'll feature one to two Knowing Neighbors, every other Thursday evening for the next several weeks into the unforeseeable future. Keep watch for the next one planned for May 28th! And contact me to get on the guest list! I'm truly excited about this, as it is intended to connect us in meaningful ways during this time of disconnect, it is intended to be a way to share our skills and passions, to inspire one another, and nurture forms of mutual aid. Plus, I see other potential in this activity...
second year mullein
perpetual spinach

Saint Joan's wort

Cutting celery, sweet Annie, calendula nigella, borage. 
With that, join us for a Zoom event if you can, and continue practicing social and physical distancing, stay home as much as possible, wear your mask when you venture forth into the shared world, and be well.

Peace. 🕊

Friday, April 3, 2020


I'm still sorting through the fucking shards of March's pi bomb. Nonetheless, I can feel some resolve steeping in the murky ooze. I wrote to someone yesterday these (among other) words:

"While I've always valued forgiveness as a premier healer... not this time. [She] has taught me that some things are unforgivable. Maybe, this, too shall pass... but I'm not feeling it at present."

And I'm not. For the first time in my life I'm reevaluating the healing power of forgiveness. This, to many - if not most - of those in my healing circles would be judged unconscionable. And even with that consideration, and the possibility of being shunned by a critical support system, I'm willing.

Willing to be fierce.

The hen pictured in this post is named Salty, Salty the Straw Boss. When we first got her my spouse looked at her and said, "she's fierce." I didn't see it. Not really. Yet, in comparison with her flock members (all of whom she's outlived) I was able fathom his perception. Even with the new little flock, she is top of the pecking order. She's different in appearance, and in demeanor from her peers. She's a survivor. She's past her prime, yet still laying eggs. She is fierce.

I don't know what Salty has to do with this forgiveness journey of mine, but she's one of our flock of four layers that sustains me, entertains me, that inspires me to laugh, and that lightens a heavy heart.

And that's the Medicine I seek now: The sustaining Medicine that lightens a heavy heart. And right now that feels like Humor.



Dark, fierce, unforgiving humor.

I think I'm ready.

Peace. 🕊

Thursday, March 26, 2020


Anyone who knows me in any meaningful way, in the physical or virtual realms, knows that I'm adopted. It comes up and out in the most usual of conversations ranging from familial associations, medical history to behavioral backgrounds, genetic memory, and so on. I've always known I was adopted, and its simply always been a key defining piece of who I am. In most ways, I've been comforted by it, and have never had any inclination to seek 'n' know anything about by birth mother, or the Y chromosome contributor. 

I've never asked to know. I've never wanted to know.

Who I am in this veil of mystery has always resonated with me, has consistently been a comfort to me, has always felt Just and Right.

So when someone - She - shared unwanted, unsolicited birth mother detail with me, without even checking in, my world rocked. Fucking rOcKeD. What's worse is that the teller - She - did not own the story, and to my knowledge, the owner of the story - the birth mother - took the story with her into the big mystery. And that was her choice. As was the adoption. As a woman who respects women in an actual meaningful way, and their choices, I respect my birth mother's choices. Period. Bottom line. End of sentence. I respect any woman's choices in any such situations, no matter what the choices are. 

So sharing the birth mother story with me, without the slightest bit of check-in, is nothing short of cruel - to both of us.

What's quite possibly worse is that this rather personal detail was shared with others before it was shared with me. How fucking weird is that? And worse still is that it was shared to me in a letter that was sprinkled with passive aggressive poison. And the worst bit of cruelty, from my view, is that my birth mother was told - by She - on her death bed, along with other other venomous fictions, that I knew and that I was angry, and that it was the reason I chose distance from a family that - clearly, now more than ever - needs no reason for said distance.

That last bit rips my heart out. Fucking rips it out.

I'm still sorting through the shards of this bomb. As a Medicine person, I take this work seriously. As a Medicine person, I've always placed premier value on the Medicine of forgiveness... but now... that may shift. And if so, it would shift a deeply rooted aspect of me. And that truth leads me to wonder: Is that selfish? 

So there's more work. And the heaviest query, it seems, at least in this moment, rests on She, and the puzzle of how anyone can be so mean. To so many. Dead, dying, and living. 

It's beyond sad. And quite possibly beyond forgiveness.

Peace. 🕊

Monday, March 23, 2020


Nine days after the pi bomb and I'm realizing just how frustrated and angry I am. It ain't pretty. I haven't responded to life with this much tearful anger, methinks, since my young 20s. This is not good. And yet, there it is. I'm angry at COVID-19 because I can't confide in a healing syster as I would like, face to face, side by side, heart to heart, to be heard so that the next phase of healing may commence. And that's bratty. I'm angry that I can't shove this fucking genie, that I was perfectly fine without, back into its fucking bottle so that I might shove it down the odious, lying throat of She.

See? It ain't pretty. I'm not liking it. In fact, I don't think I've every really hated anything in my life, but I'm pretty sure it's hate I'm feeling for this. And to process it all alone is not resonating. But at least I can vomit up the poison here. I just hope I discover forgiveness in the spew.

Peace. 🕊

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Valuable Relationships

I give thanks to my relationship with Nona Gaia, my beloved mother earth, and to the spirit of all her rooted and ethereal kin. Today, and every day. Yet recently, my gratitude has intensified. My tap root has sunk deeper. My stem, however, has wilted.

Nonetheless, I am grateful for that sinking tap root. I am beyond grateful. Beyond.

Over the past week I've witnessed in undeniable ways the potent holistic value of my relationship with Nona Gaia and her kin, and I honor with increasing valor their steadfast willingness to support me. And all of us.

A lot has happened over the past week. A fucking lot. For all of us.

Nine days ago I made the decision to cancel all classes and gathers. A week ago, that personal pi day bomb dropped.

And I'm still sorting the shards.

It's a strange, unnerving, unsettling experience to learn something about oneself in one's 61st year of life. Something that was never sought. Something that was never requested. A story conveyed by one who owned not the story. A story conveyed in written word, peppered with (typical) passive aggressive judgement to boot. I almost didn't open that letter. But it wouldn't have mattered, because the poison was shared with others and would have made its way to me anyway. On day six. Because it did. Anyway. This remarkably personal bomb was dropped on others before it was dropped on me.

It's so fucked up.

Eight days ago my personal life had deep roots and footing. I was a grounded person. My stem was strong and straight. Seven days ago that all changed.

I didn't ask for this.

I understand that life happens. Heck, I say it all the time. Life happens. We all receive unrequested gifts. That's how it rolls.

Yet this was not She's story to tell.

This is hard, hard work.

And it's come at a time when I'm unable to sit with friends to share it, hash it, heal it.

And that adds to the hurt.

Forgiveness will come hard. Yet, sweet Nona Gaia, in the name of all that is sacred and holy, it must come. And you will help me. And I am grateful. Grateful for this sinking tap root.

Peace. 🕊