Where There Is Smoke...There's H O P E

Wipe off the dust, gently clear some cobwebs (no spiders were harmed during this blog revitalization) , and gather your thoughts. 

Photo by Demetria Provatas

Photo by Demetria Provatas

I don't know about you, but it's been a WEIRD 6 months. If you're at all sensitive to vibes, energies, collective moods, this year may have felt like an acrid haze over your entire being. That's been my own experience, for sure. 

The world, around here, seems to be literally on fire. British Columbia is burning, setting off smoke signals of a warming climate, of wild fires, of unpredictable, unexpected events. The rest of the world, too seems to be on fire, at times more metaphorically than others. Xenophobia, fear, aggression, polarization, old demons we'd thought long buried, have risen to the fore. Extreme weather, often heat, is turning cities into infernos, in some places, and ruining crops in others.

It has been a time of intense movement forward, at times, equally intense pushback, emotional rollercoasters, need to retreat to the hedges, to hide, but also to persevere. For those of us with extreme sensitivities, and limited energies, it's been impossible to ignore what is going on around us.

If you're a person who works with medicine, you can't ignore the wound.

photo by Demetria Provatas

photo by Demetria Provatas

The way you deal with that wound, well, that's another matter altogether, and lately it's been more like death by a thousand cuts, than one obvious injury. For me, having had last year blow my heart so open, it's felt particularly painful. I haven't felt willing, or able to write cohesive pieces, beyond those in my projects folders. Not writing has felt both like a block AND self-protection.

There's a special medicine in words. A special balm that soothes busy minds, gives hope, and awakens new ideas, for both the reader and the writer. When I say there's hope in this fire season, I mean it. Fire makes herself known, she cleanses, and makes apparent. When you see smoke, you know you still have time to act. When you come across a wildfire, you become keenly aware of everything in her path, and how valuable those suddenly, unexpectedly vulnerable things are to you.

This smoke, can be a good thing, a fair warning to snap us back to attention. And this fiery world can help feed our own fires, dormant, or withdrawn, back to life. Everywhere I look these days, there seems to be some special peril, but also, this hope, hot like the afternoon sun on the water, tenuous as the Moon's pull. There are small, cunning, filaments of hope woven into everything. 

Whether it's a casual podcast conversation that brings me sobbing to my knees*, a powerful, courageous plan by indigenous folks to help restore their ancestral ecosystem, the continued work of my dear friends to bring awareness, hope, healing, and action to our living Earth, reading a "radical" essay on alternative systems by a fellow folk herbalist half-way across the world, from my favorite magazine, or frankly, the surprisingly heartening new album of the most infamous sad girl of today's pop culture, if you're out looking you'll soon notice hope hangs in the air like smoke from so many wildfires. Hope is a burning bush, my friends. She makes herself known.

photo by Demetria Provatas

photo by Demetria Provatas

The world may be on fire, but so are we. We're fire-makers, tenders, keepers, control burners, and fire-breathers. We're motherfucking dragons, y'all.

Welcome back to the hearth.

Photo & copyright by the magical  Leslie Satterfield  from this year's Spirit Weavers Gathering

Photo & copyright by the magical Leslie Satterfield from this year's Spirit Weavers Gathering

*If you only listen to one thing this year, make it Ana Marie Cox's "With Friends Like These" episode: 8 "Let's create messy coalitions".  Her quote "Love is and ACTION, not a FEELING." is literally the most profound thing I've heard anyone say all year. If you're an activist go listen to it now. If you're not one, go listen to it anyway. And then listen to EVERY SINGLE EPISODE.