Over the weekend, my life changed for the better. Thanks to an invitation from my dear friend Kristine at Herbal Roots Zine, I spent five amazing days at Ghost Ranch attending the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference organized by Kiva Rose and Jesse Wolf Hardin. I shall do it an extraordinary injustice by trying to describe it with mere words, but I feel the need to try. Hopefully my words will inspire fellow herbalists and plant people to take the plunge and join our community.
This was a hard leap for me. For the most part on my daily life path, I am fairly solitary. I never quite learned to shut myself off from sensory input, especially the energy other people put out there. A friend once aptly compared me to the psycho-reactive slime in Ghostbusters. So when I get overwhelmed the first thing I lose is my ability to speak coherently. I swing a little bit out-of-balance and I tend to talk more than I normally would. Kind of like that dog that howls to drown out the siren. I’ve found over the years that when I hang out with the plants, they don’t seem to mind as much.
I know I am not the only herb person who feels more at ease in the woods or a garden, than around people, so I left for the conference wondering how a weekend conference works when it is full of introverts?
Honestly, nothing could have prepared me for this experience. I was blown away by the kindness I experienced. I basked in the presence of so many friends, both old and new. I learned so much. There was always brilliant discussion to be found not only in the classrooms, but at the lunch tables and in the vendor hall. The wisdom of the presenters filled the place and that was no small task given the vastness of the location. The most profound part of the experience, for me, was the sense of belonging that I felt. I have never felt so at home as I did at that remote desert retreat. I have never felt so surrounded by understanding and friendship. In the evenings, there was wonderful music that stirred the soul and raised the consciousness. The whole thing was amazing. I absorbed that energy and it revitalized me.
I constructed a little shrine to the conference in the corner of my desk have designed a little ritual for when I need to connect to that energy, but I am still missing everyone. I am grateful that we can stay connected through the technological web we have woven as a community, but in the interim I am going to miss hugs, more than just a little.