Volume 3, Issue 1

January 1, 2011

Dear Friends,
    As another cycle ends and a new year begins, we give thanks for the many blessings bestowed on us this past year. Our education center here at Sweetwater Sanctuary is modest in comparison to some others but it still requires much maintenance and energy to create the kind of container we feel is important for the quality teachings we provide. Mark and I are so grateful for the help we receive and would like to acknowledge those folks who make life at Sweetwater and Partner Earth Education Center so much easier.

Theresa Hoffman has worked in our gardens for the last two years and she is a blessing beyond belief. Not only is she an extremely knowledgeable gardener but she accomplishes so much in a day and all of it with a smile and a cheerful countenance. Brittany Nickerson came to us this year as a cook for the apprenticeship classes and some of the other weekend classes. Again what a wonderful gift to have an accomplished cook create amazing meals with such good vibes. Brittany’s secret to providing fantastic food is the love she puts into every aspect which is the deepest nourishment one can hope for. For the first time this past year a former student served as a teaching assistant during the apprenticeship classes. Dee Holden from Fernie, B.C.,Canada graciously stepped into a difficult role of being part advanced student, part class helper, part house Mom on weekends, and part support person for students. Dee’s presence was more than I could have ever imagined and was a blessing to all she came in contact with. Thanks also to Britt and Nancy for their added help during apprentice weekends. We also would like to thank Dona Friedmann who continues to bring you a beautiful and updated website.

    We are happy to announce that Karyn Sanders from Mt. Shasta, California will be presenting a long weekend class at Partner Earth Education Center entitled

A Native Approach to Energetic Herbalism.

Karyn carries deep indigenous wisdom that is a rare delight and not to be missed.

    Pam continues to interview folks for the Plant Spirit Healing Apprenticeship that begins in April. If enrolled and paid for before February 15th you can save $200 on this program. This apprenticeship is filling quickly so call today 802-293-5996.

    Be sure to check out our website for all the classes at
Partner Earth Education Center and in other locations.
    Open your heart, follow your bliss and don’t put off until tomorrow what you are called to today.


Winter Water – Frozen in Time  by Mark Carlin

    Here in the North Country the cold settles upon us and the moving water of Sweetwater Sanctuary becomes suspended in frozen patterns taking the forms of ice, snow and crystalline reflections. Normally this time of year finds us close to the woodstove in a somewhat sedentary style but an invitation to explore the magic and mystery of ice has touched me and I am called to its wonder.  

I recently returned to ice fish with old friends on a vast body of water called Lake of the Woods, a remnant of former glacial Lake Agassiz, located between Minnesota and Ontario. This Lake’s mathematical statistics is rather mind boggling – 14,000 islands, 65,000 miles of shoreline, 2nd in size to the smallest of the five great lakes. Living deep in the country invites one to “see” the world. Patterns in nature appear wild, harmonious, non-conforming and ever changing. The patterns and formations created in the ice are an expression of nature’s magnificence which I had the great privilege to experience again and yet with fresh eyes.

    It’s mid-day when the bite head stopped and the corks on our lines sat immobile. I stepped out of the fishing shack to clear my head and breathe in the minus fifteen degree air. Much of the lake was bare ice. Early winter’s several feet of snow that fell since “lock-up” was blown off by the northwest winds traveling unchecked over thirty miles of ice. Standing atop frozen water that extends further than the eye can see opens sensory awareness to the profound forces of nature. The low angle of the winter sun creates varying hues of color within the arm length deep sheet of ice depending on your relationship to the sun. Facing the sun the ice appears deep azure while looking to the north lays a hard sea of emerald green tucked within the white eyebrows of sparsely pocketed snow. While winter proceeds to grow the ice, expansions and contractions occur with thunderous rumblings as the great Mother Water gives birth to her seasonal winter child.

The Lake’s voice sometimes murmurs sometimes thunders and occasionally large cracks like lightning strikes split under foot. These cracks are not separations, for there is nowhere to separate to, but instead are the changing expressions of the freezing water’s face. When the cracks occur, warmer water momentarily rushes in and a fleeting gap is filled which hardens into myriad shapes and textures. This icy world holds the universe within its encapsulation as heavenly galaxies take form. In many places spheres of trapped air float suspended inside, whiter and lighter, some small like stars while others are larger planetary orbs.

The gift of winter water, so different from spring rain, opens portals to crystalline formations of snowflakes, frozen interactions of light refracting on ice, sounds of trees cracking in the cold, moonlight glistening on white fields – a world magical and wondrous.

Partner Earth Education Center
1525 Danby Mountain Road
Danby, Vermont 05739