Back from the woods

I just spent a lovely weekend down near Eugene at the NW Herb Fest. We had some hot, humid weather but for the most part avoided the rain that the rest of the state enjoyed this weekend–probably a good thing, since the herb conference was outdoors AND we were camping.

The conference was great. I attended two sessions with Susun Weed, one on women’s moon lodges and one on menopause. I also attended a session on spiritual aspects of medical herbalism–working with others to help them make the spiritual discoveries that they need to, essentially, transcend their illness, which will mean different things for different people. A session on folk medicine didn’t have a lot of new information, but did give me a slightly different slant on some things and helped me clarify some things. The talk on treating acute infections and the one on inflammation went over my head . . . while I felt the information would be valuable, I don’t think I absorbed as much as I might have if I were more advanced in my learning. Still I picked up some useful information.

I also met some nice people, got to enjoy the beautiful views of mountains and trees . . . lovely lovely lovely. When I figure out where we’ve put the camera I’ll share some panoramic shots Jeff took (he was hiking while I was sitting under a huge tent, fighting off flies and learning about blood poisoning and staph infections).

I didn’t want to come home. I didn’t want to leave the woods. Even though I was dirty and had been sleeping on the hard ground . . . life was just so much simpler. I had so little with me, and it was . . . better. I was finally aware in a very concrete way of how little it takes to be content if you are doing something that makes you happy. I could take time to look around me and notice things. That tiny bird looking for bugs under the ferns, the slightest stir of breeze, the way my body felt. The morning coffee, brewed over the camp fire, was delicious–was it because I actually took the time to drink it, to savor it, to pay attention to it, while it was still hot and fresh, instead of swigging it from a travel mug or absentmindedly sipping it off and on while I worked? Was it because of all that fresh air? Was it because I had to work harder and wait longer for it?

And oh the quiet. We live in the country sort of, but we are across the street from a lumber mill so it’s never quiet here, the mill runs 24 hours a day and only ever shuts down on the 4th of July and sometimes for part of the time around the winter holidays. To get in bed at night, and have the only sounds be the occasional pine needle hitting the top of the tent . . . soothing in very profound way. *sigh*

Today of course I’m back to business as usual, although I’m working from home and therefore able to have a last day of slightly more quiet.

Speaking of which, my “coffee break” is over and I have to get back to it.

Coming soon–Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in (brief and unprofessional) review! There will be spoilers, because I have no shame. Consider yourself forewarned.


2 thoughts on “Back from the woods

  1. Susun Weed?? ooh, how lucky! I’m hoping to go to the big herb conference here in New England (in August) next year.

  2. We just got back from the beach. Normally, it bugs the shit out of me to have people all around, no privacy, lots of noise, but when at the beach for a week, I like the “community” feeling of it all.


    Someday I’ll live there.

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