Herb School, week three’s end…

what can I say about my first 3 weeks at Blue Otter? Here between the teeth of the Salmon, Marble, Siskiyou, and Klamath mountains…under the auspices of Mount Shasta.

Spring flowers emerge, and weather the daily extremes of hot mountain sun, snows, thaws, and the songs of the cold spring winds, sometimes all in the same day…as they have for eons.

We learn to be in place, to open our hearts, to observe the land, to give back, to follow our medicines on a path deeper into our practice, our responsibility to our bodies, our spirits, our connection to all beings, and our debt to this earth so brutalized by colonialism and successive settler cultures of taking without ever stopping to once give back.

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Today I climbed a mountain into alpine drifts of snow. I walked along cricks and rivers picking up fallen cottonwood buds, and downed Usnea. We dispersed pipsissewa seeds. We filled the back of a pickup with our queer bodies and let the wind braid our hair.

We are not what we were, not what we are, and not what we will be by the end of this journey. Sometimes the work is so hard. It’s so much what our culture has taught us to ridicule and deny. We fracture, fall apart, cry out…but we expand, we evolve, we reconnect, closer to our purpose and our power then when we arrived.

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And I realized, looking through my photos of the last week…that it may not get any better then this. Then this time, this place, and this study. Even though my heart is still wounded, even when the losses stay losses, when the dead lay dead, when the future threatens to be as scary and impoverished and alone as it’s ever been…I can’t ever forget that this was a dream of mine to come here. And I’m here. and it’s wonderful.

 

It’s an honor. and I am fucking blessed

when summer comes and sends it’s thirst across the valley, remember the smell of the cottonwood buds, and it’s pith on your fingertips, falling into the cool, trembling crick like drops of balsam honey.

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