5. September 19, 2019

I am still processing much of what we spent time on in the woods with Connor and Aviva. Each day brought challenge, inspiration, whole body exhaustion, mind clearing, tears and full-belly laughs and moments of quiet. 

Among many other things, I am leaving these five days thinking about my family. In feeling and re-feeling into capabilities in my body (chopping wood, taking long strides, tying knots), I am feeling more and more like my mother. I am remembering and appreciating ways that my family has been preparing me to do these things, by example, by practice, through work together, and that these pieces of myself have been there but dormant for the last few years, not fully expressed, but waiting and capable. I am learning to trust myself that I know these things - that there is much to be learned and expertise to look to, but that so much the making and doing and surviving of being human is something I have been taught already by seeing others do it. 

I am feeling grateful and proud to be able to spend the next few days with my family, in one of the places where I feel most connected and grounded to my roots, my grandparents, my cousins and aunts and uncles. In Maine, I have grown up with this place as a site for amazing community - over shared food and shared work. I have been lucky to have parents and others who have put in many hours and years of work to steward it (packing coolers, attending board meetings, building relationships with neighbors). I am now feeling that it is my turn (and my generation’s - brother, cousins, etc.), to begin to take on this work of stewarding this place. I am feeling ready to dive into the work of the next few days with all questions and curiosities it takes to feel ready to trust myself as a capable steward.  

Other questions and ponderings from this week (which I hope to return to): 

  • How do you build and respect fire?

  • What is the third way to know and relate to wilderness (beyond adventure and survivalist)?

  • How do you ask the right questions? How do you ask careful questions? 

  • How do you find healing near water? Healing from grief, what is granite time?

  • How do you love a city and its limitations? 

  • How do you live a life where you can work with your hands, and be connected to the land, and find many communities? 

  • How can I continue to hold my adaptability as a strength, rather than a sign of uncertainty, or groundlessness?

  • We’ve talked a lot about balancing the masculine and the feminine. I know that I have a well developed root into the feminine - quietness, gentleness, care, support, craft, all feel natural and at home to me. I am learning to lean in to the parts of myself that I want to be more of - confident, muscled, bold, brash, clear, stubborn. Suredness in hands and body. Swiftness and decisiveness. Bigness. While also retaining what is valuable and special about the softer parts of me too.

  • “If you want to know a place, get to know the weeds.” - Nanao Sakaki, Break the Mirror

  • How can I be ok with not always (but only sometimes) having a plan?

  • How can I fully love this, and also fully love so many of the absurd things that humans have created (pop culture, comedy, awful music, good music, junk food, good food)

  • How can I de-center myself?

  • To be continued...

Martha Snow