Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Abundance, Moths & Magic

luna wing and spiral stone

Gratitude is flowing through me these days. On Solstice 
afternoon, just a few hours before our gathering, 
I received news that I was awarded the grant I had applied for 
back in April. It is a significant monetary award, granted to me from 
the Forest Viability Program - an incentive program that 
supports forest owners in developing a business to keep forest 
lands forested. I agree to put my land in a long-term conservation 
easement, and they give me money and a 
team of advisors to help develop my plan! What is exciting 
is that one can apply with a traditional forest product such as 
maple syrup, mushrooms, timber, or with a non-traditional 
product such as craft, education, etc. 
My plan falls into the non-traditional category 
(I imagine you're not surprised!) for nature and arts education. 

For many years I have been dreaming a year-round workshop space. 
This winter I became very clear that to fully birth my vision 
for RavenWood and my work, 
needed to have that space NOW. 
And, as it is with dreaming, when I birthed the dream 
with such clarity of nowthere was action 
to be taken... manifest money! So, I did! 
With great excitement I announce the birth of:

RavenWood Forest   
Studio of Mythic and Environmental Arts 

There will be much to do, meetings, a business plan, 
advice from foresters and who knows what else. 
I will build my teaching space and integrate the teaching I have 
been doing in the university with the magic of this forest, the 
mysteries of seasonal cycles, exploration of the natural 
world and with the stories whispered from 
the land and from deep 
within our bones. 

Speaking of magic...... 
RavenWood has been full of luna moths. 
For days nowI have been finding wings 
on garden paths, in the driveway, 
on the front steps. I'mhoping I will see a live one, 
they are so extraordinary. Last year 
I had one visit my front porch for two days. 
Truly amazing. 


On the front door this morning, however, 
was another amazing moth, the giant polyphemus. 
I've been seeing many of these, and fortunately they 
are alive. What a pair of antennae! 
Two have stayed the whole day, not 
minding my comings and goings and
luckily well hidden from the blue jays. 


Also visiting for the day were three sphynx moths 
attached to various places on the house. 

 sphynx moth

Garden magic abounds as well. 
I've been a busy bee, building arches, 
planting, spreading compost and enjoying 
the colors and structures of flowers. 
Below is the mountain laurel and spirea at peak. 
Today I noticed the last of the little laurel blooms 
drifting to the earth, an extraordinary 
year for laurel it seemed. 

This year's garden arch for the morning glory to 
dance with and to mark the entrance to the garden. 

I walk under this sweet and sublime sun face on 
my way to sip tea amongst the ferns. 

At the end of the day, when he knows its almost time to come in, 
Pasha often sits on the front step pleading with me with 
his love-eyes for one last jaunt down the forest path.... 
and sometimes I can't resist.....

(PS - I've been having formatting issues.. 
so this is the best I can do with the text!)


stregata said...

Congratulations on receiving the grant!
The moths are soooo beautiful - we don't have luna moths here - I wish I could find wings like that. Gorgeous.
And Pascha just stole my heart - what a beautiful guy!

A mermaid in the attic said...

Congrats on the Grant, Valerianna! And what a brilliant idea for a sustainable, magical business, I can't wait to see how it all develops and grows along with the forest it was born in. Love your garden arch, I'm guessing you don't have a problem with Morning Glory taking over there? It's a beautiful thing and I love it, but it's a weed here, and can completely take over vast areas of the bush, strangling out everything else. Perhaps because we don't have a harsh, frozen winter here, so it just keeps growing all year round.

Lorenzo said...

What an exciting project, Valerianna. Congratulations. I am sure you will keep us posted on how it develops.

Karen said...

Ooh congratulations on receiving the grant. How wonderful. :)
Those moths are amazing. I do so love moths they are truly magical beings.

Valerianna said...

Thanks, everyone!

stregata- I totally understand Pasha stealing your heart! He did mine the moment I saw him in the cage at the pound... I adopted him immediately and we;ve been intensely connected since then 14 years ago! Too bad no luna moths... they are sooo beautiful and magical!

mermaid - I do love morning glories, and, no not invasive here... we have to get a good start on planting the seeds so they'll bloom for a good, long time. Our invasive thing in the woods is bittersweet vine... strangling everything. Luckily, not in my forest, maybe a bit too shady....

Lorenzo - I will definitely keep you posted! Could be slow going, so I hear...

Karen - moths are truly magical, I never had so many amazing encounters with moths before coming here, and especially not these huge beauties!

Kayla coo said...

This is wonderful news!
You live in the most amazing inspiring,spiritual place.
M x

m. heart said...

Congratulations! This is such good news! I look forward to seeing what you build and create at Ravenwood. I'm sure it's going to be beautiful.

acornmoon said...

Many congratulations on winning your grant and for having the vision in the first place.

There is something very magical about moths, I would love to see a lunar moth.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful news, and what a joy it must be to see the moths. They are gorgeous!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Sarah said...

Oh wow! The project sounds amazing-congratulations on your grant! The moths are beautiful and so huge! I was out searching for moths in the garden the other night but with no luck, though I did see bats! I am glad you stumbled across my blog as I have enjoyed visiting yours too. I will be back!

Kimberly Wachtel said...

I'm so, so happy for you. It is all coming together. Thank you for seeing the importance of creating and offering a space like you are. I look forward to continuing being a part of Ravenwood...what a nice time I had yesterday too!

Lynne said...

Congratulations on winning the grant. Exciting times ahead and I can't wait to see the progress as your plans are put into action.

Valerianna said...

Kayla Coo... I was drawn to this place for its wildness, but close-enoughness to civilization. There is a nick-name for this spot - the "hidden hills of Massachusetts". Feels like the hidden magical hills of Mass - wildlife, natural beauty and a community of people seeking a simpler life - and spirit.

m - thanks, I look forward to seeing how it unfolds, too!

acornmoon - hope one day you do see a luna, they are something!

Zuzu - thanks and hope the weather out your way is a lovely as here this weekend!

Sarah - thanks for stopping by.. wonder if the bats had moths for dinner....

Kim- me too, its always important for me to share this work. Look forward to having you woven in more and more here at RavenWood!

Lynne - thanks!!

ruthie said...

congratulations, thats wonderful news, it will be so exciting to see your dream coming into being. Your garden looks such a beautiful & peaceful haven.

ArtPropelled said...

Congratulations on your great news! It was meant to be.
How beautiful are the luna moths and I love that first photograph with the spiral stone.

Tammie Lee said...

big huge warm happy congratulations to you! That sounds wonderful and your place is magic!

Swan Artworks said...

I wish you all the very best of luck with your new venture - it does sound fantastic! A wonderful way to work within the forest and nurture it as it nurtures you...
Congratulations on the grant!
I love moths, and you seem to have exceptionally beautiful and unusual ones - the colour of the Luna's wings is fascinating...
Good luck

layers said...

Congrats on getting the grant--
and you have the most wonderful moths- I think I should pay more attention to them around here- looks like you do have a magical garden and woods around you.

Are you curious about me? said...

You must be thrilled... congratulations on your grant, I am so happy for you.

I love the photo's of the moths and your garden looks beautiful.

~ Julie

annell said...

Life is where extraordinary things happen! And it sounds like you have that life! I wanted to get the list from you, John Cage, on how to be a wonderful student and artist. I remember a show I saw of John Cage's work. It was at the Menil Museum in Houston, TX. It was some kind of circus, and each night they would take things away and add things, so if you came to the show often, your saw many things. It was wonderful! And I love your site, it is part your life, but so much magic! I will come again.

annell said...

The Night Mists are beautiful! I really like them!

lakhsmita indira said...

When i was moth, i took bulbs form, and my little hatchling cried in vein.



Valerianna said...

Thanks, everyone, for all the great feedback and congratulations! My head is a bit spacey in the intense heat this week, I;m more of a spring/fall/winter person than a heat waver! Ugh, slow and drippy....

Ruthie - thanks, my garden is a healing place for me, I find such joy in color and scent.

Robyn - thanks! and, yes, the lunas are really something. I've been playing a bit with them in photography. Its hard to tell they are so transparent until I put the stone underneath!

Tammie Lee - Thanks and I think my place is magical, but, that's just me....!

Carrie - I do seem to have an unusually high volume of these amazing moths, I think it must be the particular ecosystem of the hemlock forest.

Layers - the magical forest is what drew me here, I find the hemlocks, mosses and ferns quite healing. They are enchanting.

Julie- the garden does look good in this photo- but during this intense heat wave, I'm just trying to keep things alive!

Annell - Sounds like an interesting show of Cage's work... and thanks for the input on the Night Mists...
They are kind of painters paintings, I think... well, quite subtle and such.

lakhismita indira - thought for seeding thoughts..

Kat_RN said...

What a lovely blog, and a lovely idea. Congratulations on your grant and taking steps toward making your dreams come true. I look forward to reading about your progress.

Valerianna said...

Welcome, Kat - glad you enjoyed your visit here and thanks for the encouragement! Progress might be slow at first, this grant has a hands on format which means I will get support in developing the plan, but also means meetings and scheduling and such... phew, but its underway!

jenny mccabe said...

wow loving the moth photos thanks for visiting my blog xxx jenny