Friday, June 7, 2013

Visiting Stones, A Woodland Medicine Garden, and Laying to Rest in the Mosses

Potholes - Salmon Falls, Shelburne Falls, Mass

My weekly posts have turned into monthly, it seems for the moment. A post full 
of images, but maybe not so much writing. Its a good day to post as the remnants 
of a tropical storm passes through, bringing steady rains and cool temperatures. 

The month of May began with steady garden work - and an injury when a board I 
stepped on flew up and put a screw into my lower leg. Not such a bad cut, but I 
hadn't had a tetanus shot in a long while. Being chemically sensitive, I dreaded 
getting the shot, but knew it was needed. I might be down for a week or so in 
response to the shot, but better than getting tetanus. Unfortunately, when I 
went to the clinic, I discovered that one cannot get just a tetanus shot right now, 
it is bundled with several other vaccines of viruses that are running around. For 
a chemically sensitive person, this increases the risk of having a reaction, so I 
was not pleased. And, so, the slippery slope of illness ensued. 

A slight infection in the wound might have cleared up easily, if I hadn't been 
so exhausted from my reaction to the shot. A week of rain flattened me as it 
triggered my mold allergy and a sinus infection, and, on top of my already 
shaky standing, it was just too much. Luckily, I have a wonderful alternative 
health practitioner, and am on the road to feeling better. The rain today has 
increased the mold in the air, and all energy has drained from me. I might have 
skipped all this information,  but I thought I'd share as often folks don't quite 
understand the challenges of not being able to handle the typical medical 
routes. Healing for me can take longer, and for years I just muddled through with 
self-perscribed herbs and homeopathy. The good news is that I am now working 
with such a gifted healer who is helping me pinpoint the root causes of my 
sensitivities and, though down at the moment, I am feeling a deep shift in my core. 

At the end of May, my father visited from Florida for a few days. 
We took a day trip to visit some places with stones. Above, Dad stands in 
front of a cairn at Three Sister's Sancturary in Goshen, Massachusetts, an amazing 
stone art garden. Below, Dad's hands at the potholes at Salmon Falls, 
in Shelburne Falls, Mass. 

 Both the naturally occurring stone formations at the falls and the 
human-made stone work at the Sanctuary are equally amazing. I was pleased 
to share them with my father, as he says that he doesn't miss the cold and snow
of New England since moving to Florida, but he does miss the stone. 

During the days of illness, I put whatever creative energy - or whatever 
energy I had at all - into the gardens. Cleaning up winter refuse, 
and working on the Woodland Garden in the rear of the house. 
It is truly a place of sanctuary and healing for me. I worked for a bit, 
 then collapsed in a chair for a while to rest, then back to work. 
I managed to get a lot done, in between rests and long afternoon naps!

On the last day of May, I gathered with two dear friends, 
to co-create a ritual to spread my mother's ashes in the Moss Garden. 
She loved the ferns and mosses here, and, shortly after I moved to RavenWood, 
shared that she wanted her ashes spread in the Moss Garden. Our ritual was simple - 
we sang with drum and crystal bowl, and I walked three circles around the 
garden sprinkling ash. I feel blessed to have the essence of my mother 
mingling with the beauty of the land, and look forward to feeling 
how this might change my relationship with the forest. 


Marti said...

The lush yet gentle greenness of your place; the knowing that your Mom's spirit rides the gentle winds that surround the very mosses, trees, forest wildflowers that surround you, that is a healing, in and of itself.

Valerianna said...

Yes, Marti, the gentle healing energy of this forest brings me much peace, and my mom's spirit grounded here, is another level entirely!

Starr White said...

Your posts are always well worth the wait! The stone garden and your garden are both very beautiful. Love all the mosses and ferns, and your green man. And, how wonderful that your mother is now truly a part of the forest you love so much. Wow. I think I want that too - for me. Thank you for giving me something lovely to think about :)

Valerianna said...

I'd love that, too, but I don't want to be cremated or buried in a casket, so, I probably will be buried in a shroud in one of the natural burial grounds in New England. I only know of two. But how I would prefer to be carried out to the forest here and laid in the roots of the trees with whom I've spent my life.

Betty said...

I like the way you spread your mothers ashes. I am sorry to read of your sensitivities, I have been enjoying your blog for a while now and didn't know you had such health issues, hope you will soon be feeling better. Sending healing thoughts to you.

Barry said...

Hi VA - the challenge of your monthly post is that it is crammed with info and images. Sorry to hear you have been struck down; but good to hear you are on your way up and finding the root cause of sensitivities. Great you could share stones with your dad - they have such strong energy - I love the standing stones - I would like to have more on our block. Gardening looks full of life. Hope spring continues to bring healing and creativity. Go well. B

jude said...

this was good. I have so little time for gardening these days.

Valerianna said...

Yes, Barry, I do not seem able to make short, sweet posts! Thanks for the well wishes, taking care of myself here today, opting out of a long journey, and enjoying the sunshine back out after a day and night of pouring, pouring rain and howling winds!

Valerianna said...

and I have so little energy for it! But, healing deeply and slowly is better than a quick pill fix, in my opinion. Hope things are OK in your world, Jude, been thinking about you.

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Deep and meaningful post. All your work has made your home even more glorious. I hope you continue to gain strength and heal.

Tammie Lee said...

i had no idea that tetanus comes bundled now ;-(
i use essential oils (fabulous quality DoTerra oils) for all sorts of health concerns, they are amazing. for cuts here is a link for you to take a peak at:

so sorry that you have not been feeling well. I am happy that you have someone giving you hope.

your photos are lovely
i love the idea of visiting stones

and yes, quite special that your mother is in your gardens.

Velma Bolyard said...

ok,two comments have been eaten by blogger--sorry, valerie.

Lynne said...

I hope you are feeling better soon. As someone else said, your posts are always worth waiting for. They are little oases in my often too busy and stressful life. I've come to love your forest too.
With Google Reader set to be retired at the end of June, I wondered if you would add a Follow By Email gadget so that I can continue to receive your posts.

Lynn said...

Sorry to hear you've been ill.
My mother is also extremely chemically sensitive, and has struggled over the years to find good, alternative health care, so I can sympathize with the difficulties. Glad to hear that you're in good hands with your practitioner.
Sounds like a lovely visit with your dad. Love the photo of his hands over the stones.
Beautiful ceremony for your mother. To rest amongst the ferns and mosses.

kat said...

This is such a beautiful place! Sorry to hear of your illness - the work you were able to do created such beauty, perhaps because of the rest in between.
Thank you for sharing the pictures of the rock garden - I had no idea something like that was here in the states - it reminds me somewhat of Stonehenge.
Take good care - I always check my RSS feed to see if you've posted. Lovely to see when there is another treasure.

trish said...

Wishing you well Valerianna....
Oh those beautiful stones.
Much healing and love to you.x

Wyld Oak said...

That "core shifting" is a blessed feeling. Thank you for sharing your peaceful forest, garden and studio sanctuary with us. Your posts convey such a sense of honoring and reverence for your Place, a mutual healing. My offering to you, a poem by Wendell Berry:

...And yet to serve the earth,
not knowing what I serve, gives a wideness
and a delight to the air, and my days
do not wholly pass. It is the mind's service,
for when the will fails so do the hands
and one lives at the expense of life.
After death, willing or not, the body serves,
entering the earth. And so what was heaviest
and most mute is at last raised up into song."

Unknown said...

You are in my thoughts, V. Your gardens are beautiful. Always a treat to see Pasha. - sus

Cozy Knitting said...

I thought I was the only one sensitive to pharmaceuticals. My friends think I am crazy because I refuse to go to doctors. The emergency visit-like yours-entailed medicines. I did not fill any of the Rx's. I tore them up and handed them back to the nurse. Even with dental surgery, I was able to manage the pain with ibuprofen and naproxen in moderation. It is good news that you know your body and take care of yourself. Thanks for the warning about the tetanus shot. I'll try to be careful about that one.

Mo Crow said...

Oh your close up shots of the moss garden are such a delight what is that tiny blue forget me not like flower? you live in such a beautiful place

the wild magnolia said...

firstly, i do hope you are well and regaining your strength. Second, the sanctuary stones are compelling beauty to touch. third, the gardens are rich in forest colors and textures. and last, Pasha seems to sense a need to be in the photos, as his part? No sure.

a sacred delivery of your mother's ashes to a place she love in extraordinary. meaningful forever. it. will be. very interesting. to know. how this does change the spiritual elements.
a powerful act of love from you, to your mother, and the moss garden.

Disco Del said...

I rarely comment but wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your posts. Your garden, woodland and artwork are all beautiful. I hope your energy levels pick up soon. I know only too well about illness-induced lethagy but, like you, try to do a little every day.

Your mother's ashes are in a gorgeous spot. I hope you feel her close by. I'm probably going to have mine sprinked at a nearby bronze age stone circle, but then again, trees would be lovely too ... maybe I should have a rethink.

Sandra Dunn said...

V- Blessings to you. Health, energy and renewal are wished you. Just looking at your pictures makes me feel healthy - all that beauty, ferniness :) and fresh green everything....
Sounds like it has also been helping with your healing and keeping your spirits up and strong. Good to see your daddy in this post and your mother is with you. Mingled in the moss and free forever. Much peace and healing to you this month.

Also, Salmon Falls is amazing!

Andrew said...

wowww your garden are so awesome :) alla the best..

really so so beautiful stones...


ELFI said...

beau!! voir : bretagne, carnac..les alignements

Valerianna said...

thanks Julie... getting better, little by little.

Valerianna said...

Hi Tammie - I, too, use a lot of essential oils. But at present I'm doing homeopathy, and need to be careful with them. Thanks for the link. I have a particular favorite company myself, Floracopaia. Some of their oils are sourced from here!

Valerianna said...

Oh, and yes... dyptheria and whooping cough (have no idea how to spell those!) cannot get just tetanus. A friend who has Lyme was due for a tetanus, but her Dr. said no, her immune system was too weak for all those at once! How's that for crazy?

Valerianna said...

Ah, but you're here, now!

Valerianna said...

Hi Lynne - I'm happy to provide an oasis, and nice that you love my forest, how lovely.

I have tried before to add a follow by email thing... I keep getting a message that there's something wrong with my feed or some such thing. I have no idea what to do about it! I'll try again.

Valerianna said...

Hi Lynn - Yes, getting relief with this new-ish natural Dr. Next week I'll start the process of being desensitized from mold. Yipee!

I always have a great time with my Dad. Our constitutions blend well!

Valerianna said...

Hi Kat - thanks, happy to share the stones with you. Actually, in New Hampshire there is an ancient site called America's Stonehenge. Check it out online, its fascinating! I used to co-facilitate a big Summer Solstice ceremony there.

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Trish! Amazing stones, huh?

Valerianna said...

Thanks for the Wendell Berry, Carmine - he's so great :)

Core shifting is good, but slow... I'm happy that my reverence for the land comes through somehow on my blog.

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Sus!

Valerianna said...

Ugh... too bad you're in this club, its not fun :(

Valerianna said...

Ha, that flower is Forget-Me-Not Brunnera, Mo. Its really lovely. Likes rather cool, woodland environment, and not too much sun. Lovely little flowers in spring.

Valerianna said...

Feels that way - like a powerful act of love - both to me and the moss garden.

Valerianna said...

Why not both trees and stone circle? Mom has some ashes at the family plot, and some here... she decided to do so to be near both her daughters.

Valerianna said...

Yea, Sandra, how 'bout those falls! The stone there is just so amazing. Thanks for the health wishes, slowly slowly.

Valerianna said...

Hi Andrew - thanks for stopping by... yea, those stones are so very awesome.

Valerianna said...

Merci :)

Valerianna said...

Wow, magnifique!

ArtPropelled said...

The month of May sounds grueling for you Valerianna. Glad you have found a good healer and I hope June is a kinder month. Looking at your beautiful garden and thinking your mom found the perfect spot for her ashes. Loving all the stone images. I'm drawn to potholes. During our holiday at the Wild Coast we discovered an oasis with several large natural water holes in the sand dunes. We were intrigued especially since they were so close to the sea and the water was pure with not an inkling of salt.

Zara @PhD by Publication said...

You’re really fond of big rocks, I believe. One of the rock photos remind me of the animated movie Brave. I hope you have seen it too coz’ it’s really a wonderful that I even cried while watching it together with my daughter. And my, that fairy statue looks a little creepy!

Please visit My Website:

Sophie Munns said...

That's a complex story Valerianna!
Recently had a tetanus shot after splicing off the tip of my little finger with a potato peeler. Luckily there was only that one shot and the finger was dressed every couple of days at the surgery so it was soon better.
So I really felt for you having this series of things to tackle from what might have been straightforward. Glad to read you are now finding some great healing.

Loved reading that the thing your father truly missed was the roc. I can understand that if you are lucky to have that element around you in your life.

Its absolutely understandable your mother choosing your special place. What a beautiful thing V. Beautiful thoughts!
Go week and get much better!