Well, we have found ourselves in a land greener than green. Yes summer is the season of green, especially here in New England, but this little valley seems to be beyond green to this desert mama. Green building, Green Food Systems, Green Mountains, just down right green dreams up here!!
My Husband is teaching a class at Yestermorrow
And because of series of events, we have found ourselves on an incredibly long & lovely green family vacation. We have hung out at the Yestermorrow campus,
Walking in the woods and finding wonderful woodland places to play
And of course crossing the road for a summer dip in cool crystalline waters.
We have wondered into the town forest and up to mountain look outs, and that my friends was only in the first day!!
As we share this dreamy green together I am brought back to a time, before green was a thing in my mind, but more a feeling, an experience, an awakening. Being a New England girl, gone desert dweller, these deep green shades remind me of the nostalgia of youthful summers, waking up the ecological memory deep in my bones, it was these very shades of green that got into me and really ingrained in me just how important green, on every level, is to me.
You see, just when I was becoming aware of the world around me, at that impressionable and acutely alert age of 10-13, I was sent away from the sweltering heat of Philadelphia (where I grew up) and shipped up north to fresher air. I spent four summers at an amazing summer camp, not far from here called Farm and Wilderness. We hiked these very mountains and we swam in equally clear waters, we wrapped ourselves in wet wool on the rainy days and stripped to nothing on the humid hot ones. It was in this landscape that I was away from my home and family for the first time, and with all that space around me, I started to come into myself in a way I never had before. I started to see the world in new forms; wild and raw, through the tops of mountains and the heart of thunderstorms, rather than the mall or cafeteria. At camp we slept outside and ate what we grew, we played and worked and wandered away from the world of man and into the world of nature. I had never experienced anything so big, so powerful and so uninterested in me. Not only was I humbled, but I was soothed. To be a preteen is such a self an exhaustively self-absorbing task, it may caused resistance at first, but it is truly reassuring to be show that it is NOT in fact all about you, that there are places in the world where no one is watching, judging, or even thinking about you at all. I was shown that the mountains are wise and steady in ways that nothing in the motion and noise of the city & middle school was to be. The strength of the wild earth gave me comfort, but also assess to me own inner strength.
Those summers became the highlight of my year, I longed for them with angst I didn’t even know I had and only grew. My life after that was changed forever; it became dichotomous, once I had experienced something different from that which I had always known, I had two lives, the winter me and the summer me, the home and the away me, the wild me and the tamed me. Having something other gave me something to long for, to aspire to and to compare my whole life to. I now could see the vastness of the world, or at least the edge of such an understanding. I was waking up to the idea that there was more to life than suburbia and after that there was no turning back….As the years passed and things started to shift; home, school and that angst grew & grew, and it became apparent that the wild me, was the more real me than the tame me, or at least that was the me I wanted to become, the me I wanted to follow down the wooded path rather than the paved highway. The story continues…..but for now let’s just say….Life went on and big choices were made by a changed, but still little girl, that lead me down many more turns and many more roads…….but now here I sit in the very place that woke me to myself in the world, that shaped my eyes, my heart my hands…and more than anything slipped a treasure into my pocket; a compass, an invisible, intuitive compass always in the palm of my hand, or deep in my belly, there to guide me. A compass that knows what awakens me, what enlivens me, what sings to me and what is good for me, it knows me better than I know myself, the me of mountain tops and the bottom of lakes. The free me, the brave me, the honest me.
It helps me hold things up to the light, see them for what they are and how they stand up to my deepest beliefs. This internal compass was crafted by this place, these mountains and rivers, these lakes and peaks and the people who showed me how to listen to them. The seemingly endless summers I spent exploring this inner and outer wilderness, are what gave new my cardinal directions. Formed by this place I was now loyal to it, or at least faithful to my verdant teachers of nature. I was a now a lover of the forests, a protector of the green, a fresh righteous young environmentalist and where ever I tread since then I carry with my the lessons I learned here. I am not just an advocate for the land, but I am kindred to it. Once we are touched by the earth we are changed forever, we become a deeper shade of green.