Canyon Updates, 2 New Books, 2013 Greetings!
Greetings to you and yours, at the close of the 2012 holidays and the finale of another year.
Loba, Kiva and Rhiannon enjoyed making festive Russian Christmas food and ornaments, with Kiva taking a rare two days in a row from her constant emails and article writing. It has been more joyous than ever, due to Loba deciding to distance herself from her parents and letting go of the anxiety around their believed expectations and judgments, and Kiva having furthered progressed in her personal transition, symbolized by the shift from a moody bear totem to the more playful and mysterious Ringtail Cat. In her holiday decorations, our dear daughter Rhiannon (age 12), managed to combine her current fascinations with ancient Japanese culture, modern Miyazaki anime, and… rabbits. Imagine that! Then again, it’s not that much more curious than Kiva’s combined balancing interests in small furry animals and women’s mixed martial arts.
Canyon Projects & Progress
The week falls soon after the release of the Winter issue of Plant Healer Magazine, meaning there are fewer deadlines than at any other point in the quarter. Gone are our last pair of on-site volunteers (from the great WWOOF farm helper program), and the next batch have yet to arrive. I have taken advantage of the relative lull, by jumping on a number of things I’d been very excited to do. I began setting up a weight room with heavy training bag for myself and Kiva, enjoyed taking some breaks from this solar powered laptop to take care of things outside, and delighted in wandering hunter/gatherer mornings alongside our precious river.
Our longtime amigo and aide, Dan’l, has transitioned from ensuring the needs of the canyon to working a better paying job that can finance things he wanted in life from an iphone to travel, and will be spending at least a portion of the year back in Oregon so he can be closer to his daughter Cassandra. We still have Trail Boss’s help occasionally as his health allows, but with so many vital projects unfinished down here, Dan asked our old buddy Ryan to take over for him in those ways he’s able. It looks like we may finally get the fireproof door that is needed, after six months of our Indian horno mud oven being otherwise finished and sadly unused. An offroad vehicle will get its starter replaced at last, and the fire-fighting water pump paid for by many of you will be mounted on a trailer and ready for use before what will surely be another fire prone Summer in these mountains.
We will still need a rain gutter, filtration and caching system devised and installed as soon as possible, though we’re unsure who or how. Eventually, we hope to have long term or permanent on-site caretakers, providing a cabin in paradise to some canyon obsessed individual or couple in part exchange for their taking some responsibility for the well being of this sanctuary and school. We will not be able to offer them extensive Anima herbal or lifeways instruction, given how busy we are writing and managing things, but a chance to live in this place and serve this purpose will likely prove enough draw to anyone likely to commit and stay.
I have also seized this opportunity to not only write my next Plant Healer column (on following our hearts, interests and callings in the face of parental disapproval or societal pressures!), but also to totally or largely complete two more books before I have to refocus on putting together the Spring issue.
New Book #1: 21st Century Herbalists
The first of these, is a book of Plant Healer interviews, full length candid conversations that either have appeared – or will appear in the future – in the magazine in abbreviated form. The first volume of “21st Century Herbalists” will be approximately 300 pages long with up to 21 specially chosen interviewees from herbal professionals to nutritionists and wild foods foragers, exploring their lives, inspirations, peeves and pleasures, as well as bringing out tons of herbal tips and plant secrets. I have edited and laid out the pictures for two thirds of the book already, and will finish preparing it for publication as soon as we get final replies back from a last few folks – namely Rosemary Gladstar, Kevin Spelman, David Hoffman and the dear Juliet Blankespoor. Here’s a first advance look at its front cover, with my illustration meant to evoke the outpouring of herbal insights that sprout forth once a person sets aside their public face.
I’ve also compiled a list of nearly 40 more plant people that I plan to interview for future volumes of the book, from Paul Bergner to Cascade Anderson Geller and wild foodie Hank Shaw. A full announcement will precede the release of volume one, hopefully some time in February. It makes it harder to get all my own writing done, but these intimate and adventurous conversations are important for networking the excellent ideas and work of others, as well as for providing case examples that can inspire our readers’ embrace of their purpose and their individual ways.
New Book #2: Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle
If one new book wasn’t enough between now and Summer, I also couldn’t resist organizing and editing over a hundred of the articles I found the most fun to write: irreverent and utterly non-PC, humorous and sentimental, historical and philosophical, sassy and smart-ass tales and commentary first penned for rural Western newspapers and their various blue collar, cowboy, hunter, farmer, libertarian, anachronistic and often rural readers. Many of the selections in “Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle” were also adapted to appear in this blog over the years and would be familiar to you, with something to awaken and enliven, offend and stretch, tickle and empower nearly everyone. We don’t expect it to sell broadly to our herbal and ecology audiences, but it would be a shame not to make it available online and in local shops so it can do its trickster coyote work of helping stir hearts and minds.
If interested, you can expect the book’s release in May or so. And yes, Pancho Villa really did ride a motorcycle.
A tip of my cowboy hat also goes out to Traci Picard, who happily volunteered to proofread both of the above books, and refused payment for her help. Her corrections were numerous and valuable, and her un-sanctimonious commentary a pleasure. And thanks, also, must go out to Jamie Jackson, not only for the apt proofing she has assisted with, but especially for taking over conference and magazine outreach when all other volunteers and staff had dropped out. Perseverant and dedicated… qualities we well respect.
We got rain and snow mixed for a period of several days, putting some (albeit ashy) water in our barrels, and giving the thirsty land a much needed drink. We are still way behind normal precipitation levels in the Southwest, and there is only a fraction of the snowpack in the high country that is needed to fill the waterways come Summer. Forest fires will increasingly be an issue as the giant Ponderosa Pines dehydrate and die, and juniper and oak story slowly replace them. This river will be all the more crucial to the plants and animals of the area, and our protection of it even more essential as the weather cycles get drier.
The sun is close to topping he mountains to our southeast, lighting those very pines from behind, so that they appear to glow from inside. Each natural thing changes and dies, and each appears glorious in its time.
So too, appear you.
Have one helluva fine 2013.
-Wolf y Familia
Categories: Announcements & Updates