Volume 6, Fall
Since our last newsletter we have enjoyed an entire season of green growing beings who have flourished bringing us delicious food, herbs for tea and medicine and the delight of beautiful flowers. Even now many of them linger as autumn’s warmth wanes. We just completed our 2013 teaching season with the last Apprentice weekend being this past one. What a wonderful year it has been in so many ways! We are so grateful for the help and cheerful service of our cook, Jeannie Barton, and our gardener, Niki Murano. Without them we would not have been able to bring you such an amazing year. We also want to thank all of you, both old timers and newbies, who found your way to Sweetwater Sanctuary this year. It is you that makes it all possible.
As we look forward to a much quieter time of year and the opportunity to explore our inner landscape we already have begun to vision. More and more people from across the globe are being called by the plants to experience their full nature and to move into deep relationship while becoming co-creative partners with the Green Beings. The plants are urging us to bring these teachings to a wider audience beyond our little piece of paradise here in Vermont. With this in mind we have begun work on producing a course that will be brought to you through the ethers. This amazing element of Ether holds the space between all things and connects us all via an unseen web. So with the help of the element of Ether (and others savvier than me) we will be bringing you an on-line course, hopefully, before the New Year. Please visit our website at Partner Earth Education Center to receive updates on our progress.
Dates for many of Pam’s 2014 classes are on our website. The highly acclaimed Plant Communication; Reclaiming Our Birth-rite class will be held here in Vermont and other locations. We also plan to deepen in our plant relations through our ceremonial weekend of Plant Initiation both in Vermont and California. For our Apprentices we will offer an Advanced Plant Spirit Healing weekend here in Vermont. We also plan to bring in at least one guest teacher (maybe more) next year.
In 2014 the NEW and IMPROVED Green Nations Gathering will be brought to you by Pam and her conference partner, Brittany Wood Nickerson. We are returning to Frost Valley in the Catskill Mountains of New York where we held the conference several years ago. It allows for more people to attend and is the perfect venue to support our vision. Please visit our facebook page to like us and stay tuned for our new website that is coming soon.
Living with, Learning from and Loving Your Landscape by Pam Montgomery
The time of year is upon us when trees dress up in all their finery as if going to a festive ball for the last hurrah of the season and what an exquisite hurrah it has been. The golden glow of the forest is beyond compare and the red dressed Maple at the end of our drive is surely filled with divine powers to shine so brightly. We were fortunate enough to find ourselves on one of these magnificent days hiking Danby Mountain up and over through Hannah’s Crotch (yep, that’s what it’s called) to the Dorset side of the mountain.
We began our hike by heading out the back door in hopes of finding the trail that skirts the side of the mountain and joins the notch trail. We had an idea where the trail was but the several years of growth since we had last taken this hike claimed any remnants of what may appear to be a walking path. Mark with his keen sense of direction struck out in a south westerly direction informing me to keep the sun on my right shoulder and we would surely find the trail. When we came to deep underbrush that filled in with briars I was almost ready to turn back but he urged me on saying “the trail is just ahead, I’m certain”. He looked up into the forest canopy and saw a line of light. “It will be just over there,” he said. Sure enough, we stepped out onto a well worn trail clear for walking. As we walked horizontally across the mountain we noticed what a fine place this may be for early spring mushrooming where Morels might possibly grow in abundance. This relatively easy flat trail gave us time to observe the beauty of the trees and the still flourishing wild flowers in open areas. The Goldenrod flaunted its brilliance rivaling the golden of the Quaking Aspen as both shimmered in the breeze.
We arrived at the more pronounced trail that traveled up the mountain becoming steeper and steeper with every step. At one point Mark asked me to talk with him and I said I’d love to but all I could barely do was breathe. We hiked on and on stopping at intervals to look out at the distant mountains or to observe the particular growth of a tree or to listen to a bird call while noticing the change in landscape from mixed hardwoods to mixed conifer and hardwood trees. Finally we arrived at the top of the notch where we stopped to eat our lunch of avocado and pear. It felt good to rest our tired feet and nagging leg muscles at the apex of our climb. Now we could begin our descent, surely the downhill will be easier. By checking the angle of the sun we gauged having another full three hours of light, plenty of time for our descent.
The south westerly facing slope of the Dorset Peaks felt very different from “our side” of the mountain. Huge boulders of quartz mix and slabs of shist rock scattered down the mountain. The season had been so dry that the usual tumble of water was not here. The quiet of the mountain was palpable, almost like a cloak wrapped around you. Down we went side-stepping in some places to avoid sliding in the loose stone rubble, perhaps a remnant of tumultuous Irene that certainly raged down this trail only a couple years ago.
Then the sound of water came as we entered an enchanted mossy area covered in bright, eye-candy green with an enormous spring flowing full force from deep within the mountain. Being both in awe and humbled by this strong and sure flow of water we knew this was a sacred spot. As we dipped our hands in to drink wild water we wondered how many had traveled, over the years, to this very place to pay homage to this life-giving water. Later we discovered this source-place to be the headwaters of the Mettawee River. This great river that flows into Lake Champlain is called Mettawee by the Abanaki people because it was the “furthest away river”. And yet, for us, it was in our backyard, not far away at all.
As we live more fully with the land where we reside our relationship deepens and we learn what’s under our feet and above our heads. As familiarity grows our hearts are filled with love for this most beautiful place we call home and time after time we find our most exciting adventures end up being out our backdoor. The old song “Love the One You’re With” rings through my head as I realize this land is the place we are with and the pastures are just as green here as anywhere in the world. Plant yourself in the garden of your landscape and watch the beauty that grows.
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1525 Danby Mountain Road, Danby, VT 05739