This is a video of me teaching a class on formulating herbal medicine, with a focus on local plants of the Ithaca, NY region.
Archive for December, 2010
Kiva Canyon Country
December 11, 2010
It’s easy to forget what quiet is like. Especially having been in 3 airports on 3 airplanes, and one windowless jeep with a snorkel next to my right ear.
But then, you light the woodstove and let the lack of peripheral sounds envelop you.
My second time visiting Kiva and clan, and it just gets better as I learn my way around a little more
It is 8:45 pm, in this cabin (the Gifting Lodge), and I am glad to be off the road. It started around 5 am after a somewhat sleepless night. Christian the Apprentice gave me a ride to the Ithaca airport and while it looked like a promising start, it quickly went downhill as the first of 3 flights was delayed because the pilot forgot to turn off the emergency lights on the plane, and so they had to recharge them, which took about 1½ hours. Damn, that just felt like a stupid thing to happen, and it altered the schedule for the rest of the day.
But instead of going into all the details of how I did eventually get here (and only an hour later than scheduled) I just want to say that I am very glad to be here. And light the wood stove. And breathe the quiet.
9:15 pm, comfy bed, headlamp on (no electricity-which is a word I pronounce in a way that invites sniggles). I look forward to hopefully falling and staying asleep. And even more so to waking up and seeing these surroundings. And to go to the river and listen and watch. And to see Rhiannon and Loba and Wolf. And of course, Kiva.
December 12, 2010
Close to 7 am. There is something about the quiet here (including the streaming sounds of the San Francisco River) that keeps my dreams tossing and turning. As if there is room for them to move around, unhindered by my home’s daily-activities devices, or the constant buzz of the MAMR (modern American motel room). So I wake up wondering why I am lost again on the Long Island Expressway or who these threatening toughs are in some nameless school.
But I draw myself out from the bunched-up warm comforter while it is still dark and put my headlamp on, get the woodstove going, put on some tea, and relax into the sounds of the still southwest mountainscape.
Sensory memories return of my 10 years (not so very long ago) living without electricity outside of Ithaca. There is a general stillness, and the smells seem sharper when electricity is removed. The quiet becomes more enveloping allowing other senses to move more forward
Today I will learn some new plants here. Start distinguishing the Juniper and Oak species, and try to tease out the name of the all the smaller plants in their dried withered states. But I will be fortunate and have the sharp mind of Kiva Anemone Rose to help me sort these out. Fortunate am I.
December 13, 2010
Getting close to 6 am. I am waking early as I feel the pull of sleep much earlier here, without lights, without all the stimulation. I suppose that soon enough I would adapt and go back to my normal sleep cycle, but I am generally a ‘morning person’ and like to get up before the sun has finished coloring the sky.
Today is my last full day visiting. Tomorrow I will be driven back to Albuquerque and fly out Wednesday morning, hoping my flights are easier on the way back. I am already sad to leave. I don’t mind getting back home and working on winter projects, but I will miss this family, and the beauty and quiet of this land.
Yesterday, it was another bright warm day, at least by early afternoon. Somewhere in the 50’s perhaps. And Kiva and I took some walks and she showed me the plants that are identifiable at this time of the year. Mostly the trees and shrubs and then the strongly aromatic herbs like Pennyroyal (Hedeoma sp) and Wild mint (Mentha arvensis). Besides being a good friend, I learn a lot from Kiva. She has a creative intelligent mind with sharp eyes to distinguish the changes in her surroundings. And notices the Lilliputian alterations to her environment as well as the larger details. I am also enjoying the other folks here. I spend a good amount of time talking with Loba in the kitchen eating some damned fine delicious food. (A warning to all whom visit here, it may be hard to enjoy eating out ever again, as you will be spending a bunch of money for food that is only ½ as good as Loba prepares on her old-styled wood stove). And then there is Rhiannon (whom I am calling Rhiannorhea these days) Kiva’s 10-year old daughter and a child of the Southwestern Mountains. Sprightly and funny and smart, I am glad to get to spend some time with her on my visits here as we leap into each others imaginations and listen to Rhiannon’s true encounters with Bear and Elk and Mountain Lions.
True to his namesake, I only get furtive glances at Wolf, who has lived here for 30 or so years. But again, I am glad for our short conversations, and listening to someone who thinks long and hard about humans place in the environment and someone who cares greatly about the world.
It is about 6:15 and still dark. In about 2 hours or so, I will make my way up to the homestead of the above characters, have some delicious tea and an awesome breakfast in the company of some fantastic and individualistic people. I am surely glad to be here.