I woke up to the sound of Hood River’s rushing water. From where I am the water is brilliantly cold. It comes from the melted ice of the mountain who is only invisible to me now because of the great height of the trees and hills I am surrounded by. I know the coldness of this river. I had to take my ear for a dip last night when a bee sting made it swell up to twice its size. After the sting, the doctor I traveled with came running up yelling, “First aid! First aid!” and while I thought he was running to the trunk to grab a kit, he dropped to his knees and grabbed a handful of prunella for me to stuff in my mouth and, after properly chewed, spread over my rapidly enlarging ear. So by dusk, I figured it was time to take my giant green ear for a bath.
A sufi couple owns the land, which explains the peace flags scattered throughout the 100-acre property and the inspiring quotes on the outhouse walls. I am the only herbal conference person here today. I was given instructions to hold down the fort, keep Mojo the farm dog company, and maybe make a sun tea. There are others here that come and go- an M.D. whose living above the community kitchen in a little birdhouse, two old lovers here that crossed paths again accidentally- Forest, who you see walking around with a South American stringed treasure I keep wanting to call Chorizo, and Jackie, who is in charge of cooking all the beautiful local food for the students on the herb retreat this weekend.
So I made the sun tea. Holy Basil gathered from Nagel’s garden, lemon balm picked from the patch in front of the Sufi couple’s yurt, and lavender picked by the yellow house- up the trail lined by the blackberry bushes, past the horses, but not so far as the gardener who is eating raspberries and debating what to do with the squirrel he caught feeding off his plants. I walked this path again when I arose just before dawn with Mojo by my side, to pick blackberries with the rising sun. Later in the day I found myself jumping naked on the river rocks and then tending to the camp's bonfire while everyone was away. What a gift it is to be alive.
It is such a pleasure to be mostly alone on this endless property. I don’t know if I even realized how I’ve been craving this space. It is such a different experience to lay surrounded by a sea of hungry bees, listening to the pleasant sound of running water, relaxing by a river between the water, cliffs, and giant evergreens, baking in a sun puddle, watching your sun tea brew.