"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains
unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
- N e l s o n M a n d e l a
I'm writing to you today from Colorado. I lived here for many years and it is in these Mountains that my love of Plant Medicine first took root. I have stayed long away, and returning now, even for a brief moment, has been a gift rich with reflection and revelation. For it is precious to recognize and to remember, from whence you came, so that you might know more clearly, just where it is you are going.
A place remembers you and through it, you remember yourself, see yourself. My body felt electric, alive with recognition as we drove through the canyon I once called Home. The frozen creek seemed to smile in recognition, reminding me of the morning's I'd spent by her side, in the low light of daybreak, shrouded in mountain mist and watching as the hummingbirds flew with violent precision through the air above her icy waters. I remembered the motherwort and lemon balm and catnip that grew wild outside my door. The plums that ripened in sumner and the apples that floated sweet and offering downstream in fall. I remember baking pies and pressing Cider, falling in love, finding community.
There is snow here, lots of it. And Ponderosas taller and more magnificent than I'd recalled them to be. There is still the sweet and simple rhythm of mountain life, steady and unchanging after all these years, gone. And while I am so glad for the chance to slip into this Rocky Mountain reality for a brief moment, I can see clearly that I no longer belong to this place, nor does it belong to me. The cycles and Seasons of our life are funny things, and we cannot guess at where they will lead us. There was a time when I would have been content to live here forever, high in the mountains, at home in the arms of the one I then loved; stoking wood fires and collecting wildflowers in Spring. But life is vast and I am so grateful for all of the places I have known, and loved, and been known by since that time. For they are like old friends, whose company I can delight in for a time, and with whom I can reminisce on the most honey-hues of memories, sharing gratitude for the lessons we learned together, as well as sorrow for what was and what never will be. These places of the past, they see me now, and nod in warm and silent approval as they witness the woman I have become, a woman I could only have become, because I chose not to stay forever, but instead kept following that thread which has led and continues to lead me, farther down the path I came here to walk.
And that is not to say that there is not an ache that lives within me still, for every Land and Love and Life that I'd hoped to make mine. But I've learned that my deepest loyalty lies not on the world of humans, but rather in some other realm where unseen forces work through me as I give birth to a thing, at once holy and not yet fully formed. And I will always follow that, I will always choose that, I will always be in service to that. For it is Spirit which knows, Spirit which guides us. And when we it is Spirit to whom we answer, we will always find our way back to those people and places we are meant to, but only when the moment is right. Only when we have done the work. Only when we are truly ready to remember. Thank you for welcoming me with your magnificence and your mystery. I'll love your Rocky Mountains forever.