Go Day?

When musing with another gardener a few years ago, this gardener mentioned his concept of “Go Day,” that spring day when suddenly the afterburners get ignited in the garden and it is time for us gardeners to well….go Go GO!

At that time, it seemed an apt description for how our seasons turn abruptly from wintry conditions to full tilt spring and in response, there is suddenly a list a mile long of urgent jobs to do in the gardens.

Lately however, it is hard to figure out which day is “Go Day.” Already this spring we have had some excellent candidates for “Go Day.” On these glorious mornings when I thought it was Go Day, I joyfully plunged my hands in the dirt to plant early crops like peas and beets. I approached the removal of the Rose suckers with enthusiasm, maybe too much as I then had an evening of pulling tiny rose thorns from my fingers. But still it was bliss.

However, these early Go Day candidates fell short of the mark. Instead of heralding warmer days, each of these 70 degree humdingers were followed by a string of glowering days of bitter cold punctuated by snowstorms.

Which brings us to our storm on Thursday night which dumped a good five inches of heavy snow on the farm.

the beginning of the storm

An old timer I ran into ( this person being almost a peer of mine as I have now been here 40 plus years myself), said, “Well this IS Northern New England after all, and this is just the way spring is.” I admired his philosophical point of view. However I haven’t changed all that much since my blog last week about my lack of patience in the garden. So for me, I went from savoring the weeding to resentfully watching snow fall. And now lingering cold has left me wistfully indoors looking at the five inches of snow on the ground that has stuck around for four days instead of agreeably melting right away as most spring snow does.

I’ve tried to go with this flow and do inside spring chores like tucking away winter clothes. Only, I still need the sweaters. Even the heavy ones.

So here I sit, wearing my favorite Irish sweater AND a winter coat while feeding the wood stove. There is nothing quite like filling the woodbox in April. Bikes and other accoutrements of spring block the way to the woodpile and I trip and crash, clutching what I keep hoping is my last load of logs to haul into the house for the season.

As I crash dash to and fro the woodpile, I try not to look to the Arbor Garden. I don’t really want to see the fate of the Daffodils. I am certain the glory of last weeks’ display is toast. When the snow does melt, I hope I will be able to pick bunches of broken Daffodils to fill the office with spring cheer. But who knows? This snow has smushed everything for a long time.

Shrubs and trees encircling the Arbor Garden and all our perennial beds were budded out. Some even had young leaves. This means many limbs are drooping from snow caught in the young foliage. This kind of storm often means we have to cut back shrubs because they don’t pop back into their vertical positions again. Nothing like starting the season by butchering the Flowering shrubs.

Okay, I had to go get more wood so I took a gander at the damage. It’s still a little early to tell but the fate of the Daffodils looks bleak. Other plants like the Hellebores, also known as Winter Rose, seem like they may well rise up and resuming their business of blooming. Time will tell.

I can also hear the drip of melting snow so perhaps in a day or two I will be out there again in a snowless garden tackling things like the crab grass. It would be great if I loved crab grass because nothing stops its roll. Not snow or ice or cold. But I prefer Flowers. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. Loving Flowers means more tears than loving crab grass, but it means more joy too. The Daffodils and I still have the beauty of last week before the agony of the storm. I hope they feel it was worth it. I do.

Helping our Inner Child in these times

I know the dust hasn’t settled yet.  Astrologer Pam Gregory describes life on Earth right now as living in a demolition zone. So yes, maybe clarity is not available yet as the air is still full of demolition dust.  However, some things I believed were true feel incredibly MORE true after this last year.  One belief underscored and highlighted for me is that we need each other.

Another thing I have certainly noticed is that issues I thought were done and dusted have come up again for another round of healing. Today I thought I would specifically write about Inner Child work.  We brought our Inner Child combination Flower Essence out decades ago. I worked with this Essence a lot then and did much healing around the experiences of my inner child in her challenging childhood.  This year with so many things going in different directions than planned and with so much change, little Molly has been in need of a lot of love, reassurance and Inner Child too.

While I have worked to make peace with what I went through as a child, this doesn’t mean that little Molly within me isn’t still affected by what happened.  She still has a strong tendency to drive current situations from the framework of childhood events.  She needs my grownup perspective and the reminder, among other things, that no matter what is going on, she is safe and won’t be abandoned. 

Abandonment is a big issue with my inner child for a number of reasons. One reason is that when I was four, my little sister who was mentally challenged disappeared from our home forever to rarely be mentioned again.  While to the adults this was no doubt a heart wrenching decision in an era when people thought it best to do this and then not talk about it ever again, to me it was a terrifying existential threat that if I wasn’t perfectly behaved I too would be sent away forever.

To prevent being sent away, I took on the roles in my family of origin of cheerleader, ever present sunshine, hardest worker ever, model student, and an overall well behaved, cheerful and polite child who was never a bother to anyone.  I tried to take care of everything by myself.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you may remember that when I broke my left arm as an adult, the first thing the orthopedic surgeon said to me was that I had broken this arm as a child, and it had not been set.  Little Molly had “taken care” of a broken arm all by herself.

I am spending more time thanking little Molly for how her efforts in childhood and throughout my life have made such a difference.  I don’t think I would have survived my childhood without her indomitable spirit.  Little Molly was also key to creating Green Hope Farm and everything we’ve done here. She hauled six thousand loads of compost and made over a thousand Flower Essences for us.  She got us out in the world to share what we we’re doing here.  She can and did move mountains.

This pandemic year has no doubt been stressful to all our inner children. Nothing like being in an out of control situation to remind us of when we were children with little control over our daily life circumstances. When I found myself without staff for a number of months, little Molly kicked into high gear and got all the work done. Just like she always had. When I needed to work from dawn ’til way past dusk, she kept going.  She was heroic but also trapped within the rules of engagement from a childhood in which she had no choice but do it all by herself. While adult Molly is aware of the constant support of Divinity, little Molly remembers a childhood in which the stand ins for Divinity ie my parents were either not there or there in a negative way. Stress can trigger adult Molly into going back into little Molly patterns of feeling abandoned to do it all alone. 

Among other things this year has been about helping a more integrated self let go more deeply of this, “I have to do everything all by myself” mindset. Together we have let go of many of the roles that little Molly thought we had to fill. By necessity, little Molly had no sense of balance and now I, adult Molly, am working to help her have that.  It’s time for more rest and play.

So how did this need for a better balance of work and play become so clear?  Last summer as I struggled to fill the shoes of many missing staff Goddesses, I got very sick with a kidney infection.  As the months flowed on, and the infection lingered, I found myself needing more staff than ever.  We were busier than ever, and I just couldn’t keep the pace of old.  Mercifully events (no doubt orchestrated by Divinity) conspired to help me let go of the roles I had played in the daily operations of the office for three decades.

For example, wonderful summer staff Goddess Anna, a college student on break, found herself spending her sophomore year in college in our office instead of at school. With Anna there and the return of our other staff as childcare and schooling got sorted out, I was needed less in the office.

Another part of it was that even with masks on, we couldn’t socially distance with me in the office along with all the other returning staff. At first this meant I did my jobs at night or on the weekends but then the amazing staff Goddesses, Vicki, Jen, Sam, Anna and Lizzie stepped up more and more, and I began to let go of this night work. 

Slowly with lurches and stumbles I let go of what my role had been for so long and went into a place that felt like a bit of a void to little Molly.  How was she safe if she wasn’t working 24/7?  To adult Molly it felt right to let go of daily operations and focus on the gardens and making the Flower Essences as my work.  In fact, I began to wonder more and more how on earth I had done all that I had been doing because the gardens and the Essences filled my days. Then I would remember, “Oh right, little Molly did it.”

This shift felt really good to adult me.  I felt great excitement as the younger generations here began to express their visions and insights into how to do things and where to go next.  Our first collaborative project within this new framework was the Path of Light trio which was a wonderful co-creation coming out of what the younger generation saw as what you all were asking for linked into how the Angels and Elementals here wanted to answer that request. 

Little Molly was more in a panic.  Was this safe? Was she doing enough? What was she if she let go of the work habits of 60 years? The Angels would talk to little Molly all day reassuring her and helping her let go.  As you may recall, I broke both my arms into dozens of pieces when I needed to let go of my family of origin so letting go of my baby GHF in the way I had always held her was very big for little Molly and for big Molly too.

This is where other people came in.  The staff Goddesses have been so loving about my letting go process.  We’ve laughed as well as cried which is saying something during a pandemic!  Additionally, I looked to a wise healer I have worked with at pivotal times over the years, and she was so helpful to me.  It’s been so deeply healing to let go and get her healing help and her wise perspective on the process I am going through.  Among a lot of other things, she was the one who called me back to working with little Molly through this transition. This has helped little Molly to feel safe, loved and appreciated. Little Molly has begun to know it is enough to just enjoy life with adult Molly.

I asked this healer, Kathy Skolem for permission to mention her here.  I also asked her for a description of her work and this is what she said.

“Kathy is an intuitive whose knowledge of anatomy and physiology and a deep understanding of the body mind connection offers a foundational approach to the many facets of healing. With 29 years in practice and her studies, Kathy brings her skills as a sensitive together with science. She is a facilitator and a teacher, empowering her clients to grow from those life experiences that have taken away their joy, inner peace, and their sense of well being, offering the opportunity for them to bring balance and flow back into their lives. 

Kathy has worked in the field of energy studies for 29 years. She is a certified Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, an APP Polarity Therapist, has taken an apprenticeship class in Plant Spirit Healing with Pam Montgomery, is a graduate of the Robert T Jaffe School of Energy Mastery, and served as an assistant staff member at the School of Conscious Healing in Sedona, Arizona. She has taught classes in the mind/body connection and creative visualization She has continued her studies with the online courses in neurobiology from the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine. Her educational journey started with a Reiki and a national certification in massage therapy.”

These are the things I would like to add.  I’ve worked with Kathy for 25 years.  She was an amazing healer from the first. All she has studied since then has deepened her gifts.  She loves Flower Essences and also has a deep connection with plant medicine. She worked at the farm in the early years and was key to the co-creation of the incomparable Alignment Garden Essence.  She has so much fairy energy and really gets me laughing. She works with animals as well as people and has extensive experience with horses.  I have had some very memorable healing sessions with her that helped me incredibly.  The work we have done lately has been layered with work on healing my physical vehicle from what it has been through of late and also this key work of setting little Molly free to know it is enough for her to just be with me.  Kathy does great work on the phone. Call her at 802-356-2262  for a phone session.

The Stop and Start of Spring (and these Times)

Spring comes slowly here. Days of spitting snow flurries and chill winds predominate. This makes the moments of sun and warm feel very precious. My heart sings when the pussy willows arrive or an early spring Flower rises up through nearly frozen ground.

The stop and start quality of Spring serves me, much as I don’t like it. When we have a rare string of moderate Spring days, I get a little carried away, wanting to pull up every last clump of crab grass in acres of flower beds. I act as if all garden tasks must be addressed on the first day the earth is thawed. Fortunately the fluctuations in the weather mean I can usually do only a bit of weeding then I must wait for another thaw (and rest, which is usually always needed).

I can’t prune all the fruit trees at once either because, most days it’s bitter cold up in the their branches. Arctic wind on the ground only feels worse when ten feet off the ground. I must prune one tree at a time when the conditions are kind and I can hold the clippers without my mittened hands freezing. This slow pace is fine for the trees. It’s just me that is impatient. Right now I have one tree left, a Paula Red apple down where the new beehives settled in last summer. The tree is perfectly content to wait for the next warmish moment.

If I lived in Bermuda perhaps it would be the heat of summer that would stop my garden roll and get me to rest. Here it is the extremes of weather that are my built in braking system. Like today. I went out and weeded the asparagus then sifted a load of compost then put a fresh layer of this lovely rich soil on the whole bed. A stiff wind encouraged me to conclude that was enough.

This year of constraint has been like a northern new England Spring. My tendency to push has been reined in. What I would really like right now is the freedom to do A LOT of everything I want to do in a sea of possibilities. I guess we all want that. But life has other plans for us right now. I don’t know why, and I don’t know for how long. But like northern New England Springs, I am trying to accept the tempo of this time and enjoy the windows of sunlight and warmth. In other words, I’m trying to be more patient, more able to go with the flow, less likely to push the river.

Some days go better than others! How about for you?