Monday, August 25, 2014

Wilderness workout without a gym.

My day has been a weird ( or maybe a perfect contrast?) mix of working on web site development and then going out into the forest and working to collect firewood with three burly men. I haul the rounds I can carry as they chainsaw and do what I can not. We are working on a MASSIVE (four foot diameter) madrone which died a few years ago. Then we haul them, load by load, back to my driveway (no cement involved here...think wide expanse of gravelly terrain underneath oak trees.....and use a wood splitter to break the VERY large pieces into useable sizes for my wood only winter heat....I was accidentally mauled by a loose round that crashed in to my hand and THANKFULLY did not break anything....leaving only a large swelling, a mashed skin site and blood....and this is when I remind myself that I have well earned my wilderness woman badge....because I kept working for another three hours THEN came in to ICE it. Oh did that feel good! And now the treat of hanging around with friends just making silly talk after all the hard work. LIFE! it is so rich and varied out in the wilds.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

#Sacred Water

Late summer in a year of the lowest water on record is golden. My 91 year old neighbor, who has lived on her land since 1948, told me it’s the least water she has ever known. Another 90 year old intrepid female homesteader remarks that it has been a decades long trend to less water. The mountains used to hold snow pack well into summer. I have not seen summer snow in 16 years here. This last winter, compared to her stories of 7 feet at the summits, there was only a slight dusting.

Meeting people at the Post Office picking up mail the usual 'How are you,' has been replaced with 'Do you have water?'

Welcome moisture a few days ago washed the dust away as thunder vibrated the forest and lightening streaked the sky. Simultaneous rejoicing and prayers that no fires are ignited. Grateful none were, not near by.

Formerly lush green lawns now crunch lightly underfoot, a mottled straw and dusky jade beneath the shade of oaks. I’m learning to love this new palette, particularly in orange sunsets.

Chicory thrives without water, popping up all over seeming to draw moisture from hidden places. Plantain still pops visibly in the dry landscape. Star thistle brings the bees to the garden. Vervain dots the meadow. Rosemary, oregano, catmint, feverfew, Fo-ti, lavendar, wormwood, mock orange, hawthorn, rose campion, lambs ears, echinops and the old fashioned roses are all alive without any care.

I am grateful to have water, savor the elixir every day. I’m grateful the earth is a closed system and water is somewhere on the planet, if not here in the dry west. I wonder a lot about how we treat our water. What do I put in to it? Would I drink it? So many questions to meditate with around this necessary component to human life.