Feeling the Forest

I have been really enjoying being well again. One benefit is my connection to nature has been fully restored, and I feel the trees, animals, rocks, birds and …everything. When I am connected to the spirits of all of nature, I feel all that life around me, constantly. Sometimes I feel so much life under my feet that they tingle. Sometimes I feel the forest spirits welcome me as I step out to greet the new day…like a hug from a loved one. Sometimes I hear whispers or feel gentle touches on my skin as I brush against a leaf. I breathe it in, deep, centered, life and spirit filled breaths.

Usually this is a great thing. There are places along the way where great damage has and is occurring. These places are like scars. It’s like an old vinyl record skipping and because they were mostly there before us there’s no pain, just these blank spots or dead zones.

Since there is so much damage happening in the world outside our little cove, I have learned to shield myself as I drive our road to and from work each day-moving out of my most Magickal place- through the woods to the main road. I gradually separate so I can focus on my work and function in a world full of pain and dis-ease. Then, when I return it’s like all that life energy is wriggling back into the core of my being, so that I arrive home fully connected and ready to enter fully into living and growing at Green Grove. After a long exhale, letting go of the stress of the work day, I again drop my guard and breathe deeply.

A few years ago someone decided to cut some roads to make two potential building sites more sellable. They didn’t do a very good job and to this day the properties haven’t sold and the roads are muddy, rocky eroded messes. The leftover brush was never cleared, so at least some animals have made new homes in it. I certainly wouldn’t be attracted to these properties the way they look now, even though I’d considered buying them if I could scrape together the needed money, before the damage was done.

I knew before I drove by and saw the where and what,  that somewhere something was wrong. The forest around our home was sad, no,  it was grieving and angry. I felt this building over a day or two, so I was not totally surprised to see the devastation when I went out. I stopped, and with tears streaming, I sent out apologies on behalf of the human species, healing energy for the wounded parts and love for what was not damaged or destroyed. As it has been left to heal, it is like a scar….another blank unconnected area when I go by.

Now a neighbor down the way is doing some timbering and making a playground for city folk -who can’t seem to come to our valley and just love it as it is. They feel the need to change it to suit them. I felt it before I knew where or what was happening, and now I have another painful place on my daily commute. I feel it as clearly as I felt the trauma of my mastectomy. I am beginning to have to shield myself before heading out or back on our road. Not as pleasant as that gradual loosening then reestablishing of the connections I had enjoyed. And, when I drop my guard back home, I still have to feel the pain, panic, anger and frustration of the rest of the forest. Again I find myself apologizing to the land on behalf of my species. Sadly it is a step back to the life we hoped to leave behind.

I know over time this place too will just go numb and be another blank spot, a scar in the Earths dermis. But, as it is happening, each time I forget to shield up,  I feel the pain and the panic; I hear the cries and moans as the damage is done. I sense the panic of the mammals, birds, reptiles, plants, insects, as their homes are destroyed. The mycorrhizal network is breaking up and it will take decades for new communication networks to be established. Like when cell towers go down and we can’t check on loved ones during or after a disaster. The forest spirits are now in a state of dis-ease and dis-trust.

Now I know to “do no harm” is not a real or possible thing. Even as one takes a walk  insects and plants can be destroyed, ground mammals tunnel homes can be collapsed. The car I drive emits toxins from the fossil fuel it burns. We use electricity that is still largely dependent on coal. I just find it hard when it’s a big, new, fresh assault. We drove past a logging site not far from a good friend’s farm last weekend, and it hurt. We drove past a strip mine on the way to our Hunter’s college, and it hurt. Friends opted for till, rather than no till, for their market garden and it hurt. (More sighs and moans) Is there a better way?

Perhaps there is.  I know that when we had to take some trees down, we sat with them and explained that we needed the sunlight for a garden to feed our family or that their branches were a danger to our home. They seemed to understand. Just as I came to understand and accept the need for my surgery. We asked any birds, mammals or insects living there to seek new homes and assured them the rest of the trees on our property would welcome them. We sat with each one until we felt a sense of acceptance and then we said goodbye. Afterwards, we sat and sent healing energy to the area. We cried and grieved and moved on. We will do this every time we have to take a tree or dig up a large area. When we’ve had large, mature trees come down in storms, we’ve gone and sat and mourned with its neighbors, and again waited until it felt right to cut it up for firewood. Thanking it for warming our home and planting new trees to replace those lost. We use no til methods for our gardens as much as we can, and when we do till we again sit with the space and work out an understanding. This feels more right to me.

I will be glad when the destruction phase of our neighbors’ project is complete and instead of cries and moans and pain, I can begin sharing healing energy until it becomes merely another numb, blank spot. Then perhaps my commute will again become a time of gradual separation and of joyfull return.

Yet , sometime, somewhere  there will likely be another natural area nearby destroyed for fun and/or profit because everyone has the right to do what they wish with their land.  Feeling the forest is both a blessing and a curse.

Nearly Fall

My goodness time flies here at Green Grove. It’s been a hot humid summer with lots of rain. Some very invasive weeds are thriving, but many of my garden plants have struggled even more than I have with this. They can’t spend the worst of it in the AC doing other things. Insects, however are thriving too.

One of my most successful garden achievements was putting insect repelling plants around the lower patio. I filled the no till,  slightly raised beds with lemon grass, citronella scented geranium, lemon balm and a few nicotiana for evening fragrance. They’ve done well as its a partially shady area. I plan to add some tansy, marigolds and mums next year. For more on insect repelling plants check out this article.

We’ve been able to have several lovely dinners with friends and family and the area remained pretty well insect free. I’ve only gotten a few bites and only on the upper deck. I will try pots of these plants up there next year as well. In this photo you can just see the edge of one of the new beds. I’ll get better pictures soon.

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Another success has been the fly spray I made for the horses. It’s justApple Cider Vinegar and essential oils of rosemary, peppermint, and lemon eucalyptus, a dash of olive oil and a little Liquid Castile soap. I adapted it from The Prairie Homestead Blog. One of my go to places for ideas.

Life is full of growing and not only in the garden. Our Weaver is attending the community and technical college, the Hunter has moved nearly 3 hours away to start his college life, and the Dancer is a freshman in high school. They are all thriving as we begin a whole new phase of living and growing for our family.

I’m hopeful the heat will break this week. We still have lots of canning to do and it’s brutal when it’s so darned humid. As I teacher I’ve noticed that the tomatoes always come on just when school starts. Speaking of which, I’d better stop blogging and get back to lesson plans. Happy growing from Green Grove to you all!