I’m in my childhood hometown of Brookings, South Dakota this long labor day weekend. This morning I ran down to the river banks of the Big Sioux, my legs remembering the hundreds of other times I’ve run down this road to start the day. The wind hadn’t picked up yet, and the sun was glinting off the still wet with dew prairie grass and ditch sunflowers. Even though the view on this little jog has changed over the years – the old gravel road now dead ends at the river, the bridge now years demolished; the two new huge houses on either side of the family homestead; the fences and new driveways where we used to roam free – despite these surface changes, the energy underneath, the whisper of the prairie as the world wakes up and the ancient undulation of the landscape, remains unchanged. It’s always good to come home, even though I no longer live here.
But anyway, I came to release the first copies of Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth out into the world…or at least out into the hands of some folks of eastern South Dakota. Yesterday I set up shop across from my dad’s Hillside Prairie Gardens booth at the farmer’s market, and it was an early morning of loading up the market van, helping dad set up all the veggies (hello tomato season!) into their display boxes, positioning the books so they looked inviting, and chatting with the other vendors. There’s something about the farmer’s market. It’s a good place to spend some time on a Saturday morning, and I always appreciate the opportunity to be part of the community that helped inform how I see the world.
I’ve had my author copies for a few weeks now, so having the physical books around was nothing new, but handing them over to people who came to purchase it was a little surreal. As all authors probably say (or at least think at some point) I hope they like it and tell all of their friends. I’m glad I chose to do the first release in this place. Returning to your roots is usually a good choice, at least for me.
And people also like it when you give them free baked goods, so I baked a bunch of scones.
Last evening I went out to pick the last of the day’s ripe blueberries, and as I was lingering in the garden enjoying the cool dusky air, I noticed the sunflowers. In the last week, there are four of them that have grown almost as tall as me and are starting to show signs of blossoming. Their heads are still tight in a bud, but you can tell they are eagerly waiting the day when they can show their petals to the sun and offer themselves to the world.
I just read an excerpt from the last chapter of Anatomy of a Rose, a book by Sharman Apt Russell, and it is about being cured by flowers. She points out that for a long time flowers have been used as medicine – from prescription drugs that contain some part of a flowering plant to folk medicine, flowers have healing properties. There are hundreds of ways to let plants, and specifically flowers, help our bodies heal: from evening primrose to sage to cornflower to prickly poppy, flowers have the power to cure what ails us. Continue reading “Cured by Flowers”→
Writing a book takes a long time. And then publishing it takes a little bit (i.e. a lot) longer. But it’s worth the effort and the wait, I think, to have something tangible that says what you want it to say that you can hold in your hands and give to others. It’s fair to say that yes, it does require using trees to print the books, but when your publisher is committed to ecological stewardship, that helps. It also helps when your publisher is committed to putting forth publications that are meant to be returned to again and again, not thrown away after a quick read. And when they donate a portion of all profits to a different charity every year. Add the mission that the mainstream is not the only stream, and you have a pretty stellar combination. Continue reading “Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth”→
Henry David Thoreau once wrote the words, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Though Thoreau lived in his cabin on the shores of Walden Pond many years ago, those words hold a deep truth. Wildness can mean so many different things to so many different people, but whatever it means to myriad humans across the globe, I have found embracing wildness to provide healing, inspiration, introspection and reason to explore. I have found wildness to be a foundation from which to do my work in the world, and I have found wildness to drive my choices as I tap into the potential of life on this beautiful earth. I have found wildness reason to cultivate community and exist in the world in a way that aligns with beauty and truth.
Here are 10 more reasons to embrace wildness, in all its forms, in the months to come. Because you just never know how making some little changes to your way of being might contribute to the healing of the planet. Continue reading “Why To Embrace Wildness”→
What would it look like to dance with a mountain? To be so attuned to the natural world that you could two step or swing dance with an ancient pile of rock and earth? To live so fully in your own wild nature that you could communicate with the world in a way that makes the sky weep in understanding and the plains shiver with anticipation of what is possible when life chooses harmony over dissonance? To figure out how to identify the part of ourselves that is akin to rivers and hilltops and soil and trees and holding that as our center point? Continue reading “To Dance With Mountains”→
Wake up to bird song, or waves or whispering pines. Open your eyes to the dawning of a new day, and wander toward voices when you are ready for company of the community.
Stretch your body, swim, kayak, run, hike. Let your body move how it wants to move as the light starts to fill the sky. Remember that you are a body and your body is you – you are partners in this life, not enemies. Continue reading “A Summer Day”→
Eva, my four year old, and I took a little field trip last week 50 miles to the south of our home in the St. Croix River Valley to my family’s other organic farm. Twin Organics is located just outside River Falls, Wisconsin and is owned and operated by my twin brothers, Jacob and Andrew Helling. Jacob and Andrew were instrumental in helping Hillside Prairie Gardens resume larger growing practices in 2010 and are now branching out to their own place to grow organic veggies for restaurants in the Twin Cities area. They’ve rented 5 acres these last two years on what used to be a grass fed cattle operation, and they share space with a group of jovial Kenyan farmers wielding hand tools to the north and Clover Bee Farm, an organic CSA and market grower, to the east. They won’t stay here forever, but for now, it’s the home of Twin…