Thursday, October 18, 2012


I drove to Asheville, NC, last week with my friend Jen, to attend the Southeast Women's Herbal Conference in Black Mountain.   We arrived a day early to help set up, which meant we had a night free, before starting work in the morning, to wander West Asheville as the adults we are!! Wow. Wandering when only responsible for one's self is so very different from wandering with a small squadron of small-er people...We stayed in a hostel, which was well-visited, well-reviewed, relatively clean, and quirky.

The taste we got of Asheville was also pretty quirky - the neighborhood was full of auto mechanics and homeopaths, tattoo parlors, taquerias and art studios.  I wished we had more time to enjoy it all!

 But we had a mountain to get to, so in the morning we were off to set up tents, hang flags, unload vendors...working our way into the conference.

We attended this conference a year ago, and I found that my experience was similar; this was as much a spiritual retreat for me as it was an immersion in herbal knowledge. Maybe even more so.

It was all nourishing: experiencing women opening up in friendship to one another, meeting a woman and mother of seven who rode the Greyhound bus 13 hours and overnight to find some strength in sisterhood, waking up early enough to watch the sun rise over the mountains...

...catching a glimpse of the resident black bears - a bit too close, four of them crowded into the tree above the raw chocolate vendor, knowing that the mama was not far away.  (It ended well - as soon as we were all in our morning classes, they came down and ran off, waiting for the cover of night to attempt a raid on the camping area where a posse with saucepans ran them off)

A short break, with chocolate
I loved having someone there to process with, someone who knows me and was willing to hear me struggle to articulate my thoughts.  I was exposed to some ideas that, had I read them, would have sounded a bit out there, but "in person" made so much sense.  I was happy to find some grounded, articulate teachers who helped me stretch my comfort zone a bit.  

And while I was recharging, my dad was with the girls, and what I wouldn't have given to have been in two places at once...Ironically, as I was sitting through classes that emphasized the importance in healing of listening to your intuition, my dad was intuiting that something was not right in his body (how many men listen to their bodies??), and on his third visit to a medical professional here, he had it confirmed that he has shingles.  I was so proud of him for persisting in the face of "nothing is wrong with you; take stronger painkillers" and listening to his sense that it was nothing skeletal or muscular.  Now for the healing...

So grateful, so stimulated, so inspired...


Dan said...

Your dad is a pretty smart guy.

jen said...

those are great photos!! i didnt even notice you taking them, your should forward them to SEHWC, they could put them on their FB page!!!