Last year I came home from the TWHC conference and belted out a blog post without much thought. It was instinctive and heartfelt and I meant every word of it. That conference did change my life for the better. Now a year later I am home again after spending days in a beautiful and remote location with most of my favorite people in the world. It was everything that last year had been, and more. The bonus this year is that my family was able to experience the conference as well. It meant a lot for me, for them to be there. Herbalism, as opposed to some other professions, is a way of life. My colleagues are dear to me and it only seems right and good that my family should spend time with them and experience their wonderfulness first-hand. There was plenty to keep my boys busy while I was taking classes during the day. The children in attendance seemed to morph into one cohesive unit. They attended classes together, played on the playground near the petting zoo and played chess in the Saloon. Occasionally parents pulled their brood away for some alone time; hiking or riding horses.
The presenters were eloquent, witty and informative, as per usual. My only wish is that I could have cloned myself, so I could take more of the classes. While last year, I focused on a lot of workshops on energetics, this year seemed to be the year of working with clients. Tania Neubauer’s presentation of case studies from her the clinic in Nicaragua, made me want to do the three week field trip to the clinic more than I already did. Paul Bergner’s class on “How to Sit with a Patient” was beautiful and moving. The amazing teaching duo of Jim McDonald and Kiva Rose and their tips for “Creating a Personal and Dynamic Practice” were awesome. And then there was Matthew Wood, who completely lived up to my every lofty expectation. I took both of his classes and I already know that I am going to take any workshop he offers on pulse diagnosis next year.
The best surprise was definitely Larken Bunce. I expected a very thorough and expert scientific lecture from her Herb/Drug Interaction class and indeed I got it. It was the outbreath that wowed me. Her words about the interaction between plants and people, still bring tears to my eyes every time I think them. 7Song’s interactive class on “Patient Compliance and Clinical Skills” was, in-fact, glamored by a Scottish faerie due to its out-of-this-world content. Incidentally, said Scottish faerie can whip up some amazing balms and elixirs. Speaking of concoctions, the lovely Darcey Blue was peddling her Southwestern goodness and I brought home some desert love from her, as well. I heard her treewalk was amazing. Another highlight for me was that I finally got to go on a real life –not on DVD or mp3– herb walk with Jim McDonald.
The most amazing conversations were often held outside the classes during meals or hanging out in the vendors’ hall. Lauren and Rebecca, our talk about embracing where we are, meant so much to me. I had breakfast with Cascade Anderson Gellar. I am still kind of awestruck by that, but she started talking to me about my hometown and how she had taught an herb class at our local coop. Pretty soon, it was like I was talking with a fellow herbalist and not a legend. I will never again do an herb walk at Rochester Cemetery without remembering that she was there first.
I met more of the wonderful people that make up our herbalism community and got to reconnect with old friends. I camped with Jamie Jackson and we danced and had the most lovely campfire chat. Holly and I had a lovely hike out into the green to check out the native plants, but more importantly she survived talking with the boys. Have to give both she and Jamie props for that. Ceinan you were every bit the amazing whirlwind, I expected, Thanks for going to the saloon with me, Barbara. Bet your friends back East will get a kick out of that story.
Finally I want to say something to Kiva, Jesse and Resolute. You all work so hard to pull this all together; to give us all this support and encouragement to go home and create an herbal resurgence in our own communities and in our own lives, to allow those of us who spend so much time giving of our energies, a chance to recharge. There are no words for the gratitude I have to you for nurturing our tribe and creating this place for us to come home to. I love you all and I will see you next year.