Flower Essences for Disappointment

We all navigate disappointments big and small.

Three feet of snow was the latest silly bump in the road that brought me a shovelful of disappointment. The very word itself suggests the nature of disappointment. We have an appointment in our hearts or on our calendar and it doesn’t happen.

Some are such big disappointments that we may never quite get over them. A beloved we were meeting up with is suddenly no longer here on earth. A much loved house is sold. A job we loved is no longer ours. Then there are the disappointments lite. A new recipe lands in the compost bin and the lovely meal I imagined is toast. The seedlings that consoled me as I looked out on our snow covered world were destroyed by a cat with her own brand of cabin fever. Yes, needing to work through disappointment is one of the things we can count on here on earth.

As I thought about Flower Essences for disappointment, I was interested how different Flower Essences approach different kinds of disappointment. Take for example Gorse. When we feel all is lost, Gorse helps us tangibly know this is not so. There is always hope. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. For me, Gorse has been helpful when my efforts to be less detached to outcome have drifted into not giving a shit. Not giving a shit is really another way to describe feeling hopeless. Gorse has dragged me back from some bleak moments when a wave of “why bother?” washed over me. Gorse is the backbone of some very rough, windy, extreme terrains. It has an indomitable spirit which would wipe out a lot of other flowering plants. It helps us to have this spirit too when we’re under siege with disappointments piling up. I feel very strongly about the power of this Flower Essence and if it calls to you, I hope you’ll welcome it into your life.

Another one for navigating disappointment is Don’t Worry- Bee Happy. This is a combination Flower Essence made from a Venus Garden mandala of the same name. The Venus Garden changes theme and plantings each year. Don’t Worry-Bee Happy was a memorable garden and brought us much happiness in a time which was fraught with challenges and disappointments. It taught us that it was okay to be happy in the midst of our sorrows, and that we could let go and trust the universe to catch us as things fell apart. This Flower Essence may have a light hearted name but it really buoys us up. So often the way forward is counter intuitive to all we have been taught. This one gives us permission to laugh even as we also cry and to trust life even as things seem to go wrong.

Tree Essences especially Maple and Redwood call out to help with disappointment. Maple is such a solid presence in our New England forests. So many other trees have been lost to blight, so we deeply appreciate our Maples and not just because of their sap. Maple Flower Essence brings both a sweetness and a balance to all situations. It helps us regain our perspective but with an energetic hug not judgment. Redwood conveys the truth that we can endure what seems unendurable. It survives fires, and so will we. It also has a perspective on time that is deeply consoling. Redwood helps us lift ourselves out of notions of time that bring us fear. It brings an energy of timeless to our overwrought energy systems.

One last Flower Essence calling to be mentioned is Red Clover. This is an excellent Flower Essence for moments of disappointment and loss because it helps us find our center in the midst of situations that might otherwise leave us out of balance. While Red Clover is excellent for extreme moments, I lean on it for smaller things too. For example, one of the reasons that three feet of fresh snow disappointed me is because spring is already a very short season here in northern New England. Three feet more of snow doesn’t help. Our short springs made shorter by heavy snowfall can leave me in a panic about whether I can possibly do all the garden tasks that need doing before summer comes. It is harder to do things like prune, fertilize and weed once the gardens have filled in. Spring is my window. Red Clover is known to ease panic. So it’s in my spring mix. As is Redwood with its palpable reminder that if I don’t get something done this year, there is always next year. As far as Maple Flower Essence goes, this time of year I practically bath in Maple sap and if you tapped me, I might run Maple sap….. but it goes in my mix anyways and frankly, anyone who asks for a Flower Essence suggestion from me this time of year gets MAPLE! That’s how much I love its energy!

Spring Weather

On Saturday, 32 inches of fresh fluffy snow fell here at the farm. This was the official measurement for our town according to the local tv station. We got more snow than any other town in the state. FYI this was one record I could have done without. Maximum snow volume is not exactly what one hopes for when getting ready to get out in the gardens for spring clean up.

Traditionally these late season snows are called “poor man’s manure.” I think that phrase is just an attempt to keep us gardeners from succumbing to a more extreme cabin fever than we already have.

It could be problems loading photos of the storm here that gets me too. Right now, it’s a toss up which is more irritating, but as I just managed to get a photo loaded here, I think cabin fever is winning.

Fire Burn and Cauldron bubble

This time of year sees me from dawn until dusk out by our woodshed near our dirt road, stoking the big fire underneath our maple syrup evaporator. The hotter the fire the better as it heats the big stainless steel pan of collected sap. If I am attentive, I can add wood every twenty minutes or so to keep the fire really hopping and the sap boiling hard. A container on the back of the pan warms the sap before it drips into the boiling pan below. Early season sap stays light in color as it boils down but late season sap is a rich brown . This is because the early season sap with its higher sugar content needs less boiling to become syrup. The average is forty gallons of sap makes a gallon of syrup but the ratio is less in the early season. But you know what? The late season sap has a lot more flavor and depth. There’s a message in that.

After a long winter and too much time inside, I find it exhilarating to boil maple sap all day and into the night. I also love the collecting runs when we empty sap buckets from the hedgerow of maples across the road from the farm into our big tank on the back of the farm truck. Once again I am outside with a glorious purpose!

Here are a couple images of previous sugaring seasons- the tapping, the trudging through the snow, the collecting and the sap itself. We no longer have access to these trees with that amazing view, but we have some wonderful maples across the road from the farm.

The sap runs when the nights are below freezing and the days warm enough for the sap to rise up into the trees before returning down again when the temperature drops. Cold winds, bright sun, snow cover also affect when the sap is running. It’s on these up and down journeys that the sap drips into our buckets. If it stays cold the sap stays in the ground. If it stays above freezing the sap stays up in the trees. We never know which days the sap is going to really run. On what seems like the perfect day, the buckets may be almost empty. Then for reasons unknown, another day they will be full of sap in a matter of hours. I like this reminder of nature’s own intelligence.

We always under tap the trees, putting no more than two buckets on any tree no matter how old or big the maple is. Our own property is a cautionary tale about overtapping as the previous owner allowed a man in town to overtap our maple trees until they all died. When we first moved to town and before we knew we would live on this land, I was shocked to see this man crowd up to ten buckets on maple trees all over town. By the time we moved here, the maple trees that lined the road and our property were dying or dead from his overtapping. It still makes me upset to think about what this man did to so many beautiful old maple trees.

When I tap, I ask each tree for permission to tap it, then I ask where the tap should be put. A couple years ago a neighbor who is a vascular surgeon helped us tap. He picked great spots to tap. I guess he had a good sense of the flow of sap as well as blood. Jim has a drill bit just the right size for our spiles. That’s the name of the spouts that fit in the hole in the tree and from which a sap bucket hangs. You know me. Everything I do with the trees involves hugging the trees and thanking them profusely for sharing their sap with us.

Each maple sugaring season is peculiar in its own way. Sometimes the sap runs early in February then stops completely during typically bitter cold March weather only to come on gangbusters in April. This year the sap ran very early in January in a couple of unexpected runs. We missed these runs because we’ve always tapped our tree during the February school vacation. Once we got the trees tapped and buckets hung, the sap ran for about two weeks in the end of February and beginning of March then stopped. All the indications were there that our season would be brief. End of season signs like red wing blackbirds and crocus in bloom arrived very early in mid-March. Now we are having a stint of perfect sugaring weather, but the sap has gone up into the trees for good, and each day our buckets are empty.

As I boil away, the witches in Macbeth come to mind with their famous “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” I think often about how older women are viewed and treated in the modern world as well as in Shakespeare. Bland, boring, invisible, ugly as hags, and useless. It’s ridiculous. In fact, it’s tragic that women who hold such hard earned wisdom from a lifetime of experiences are ignored as worthless because of the natural course of aging.

I’m reading a book called Hagitude by Sharon Blackie about embracing the enormous gifts of post menopausal womanhood and empowering ourselves to acknowledge our value. Keeping this raging fire going outside at the maple sugaring evaporator echoes the raging fire within me as I read this book and consider the way vital, wise, sparkling women are dismissed by our culture.

Maybe it was the long winter of pop ups on my computer, but I’m feeling fiery about being reduced in the culture’s eye to a potential consumer of every pharmaceutical on earth and Depends diapers. Is this really what knitting while watching knitting podcasts earns me? Even before the sugaring season, I noticed that the main emoji I was using in texts to friends was the fire emoji. Yes, finding my Hagitude has required and will continue to require fire and FIRE EMOJIS! That and some howling to the moon.


My maple sugaring set up is near our dirt road. The shift in weather that affected the sugaring also gave our road a mud season the likes of which I haven’t seen in many years. Multiple ruts wove up our very steep hill, many several feet deep. This made it impossible to safely navigate the road in any kind of vehicle. For several days, cars could neither go up or down our hill without getting stuck, yet people kept trying anyways.

I would watch from my cauldron of fire as people reeved their engines for long periods of time, pushing deeper and deeper into the mud in an effort to go up or down the road. Before my eyes, cars and trucks slid off the road or became so mired in mud that being pushed back down the hill became a necessity.

Here at the farm, we went down the hill once then parked at the bottom for a couple of days until the town could come through and bring needed gravel and the grader. The wise staff also parked at the bottom and walked up each day. The only other person in the neighborhood who did this was another woman with Hagitude like me. Other neighbors drove by me so fast there was no time to even wave, heading right into the disaster of mud. Sometimes being a hag with Hagitude is exhilarating. I relish boiling my big cauldrons of sap. Sometimes it’s hard. Had anyone bothered to rolled down their window and ask me about the hill, I would have had some wisdom to share. But even with my raging and smoking fire only a few yards from the road, I was invisible to them. Even with my knowledge of the hill after four decades on this road, I was invisible to them. Perhaps I will remain invisible no matter the fire I stoke or the wisdom I have, but I am going to keep stoking the fires of Hagitude and I expect I will enjoy it no matter what.

Multiplicity in Unity

Today one of you reached out to us to ask if we thought it was a concern if Green Hope Farm’s spiritual frame of references differed from your world view. Would our Flower Essences be helpful if our belief systems were different.

An excellent question which got all of us in the office talking, because even in the relatively small Green Hope Farm office, we all see the world very differently and have fundamentally different spiritual beliefs.

Most of the writing is done by me which might suggest one world view, but actually we all believe different things and often find ourselves discussing our differences. That’s the fun of office conversations! Rubbing up again our differences of opinion about so many things makes me reconsider my ideas about so much. I like that.

Had I wanted to gather like minds to the office (which I did not) I don’t think it would have been possible. How could we possibly share an identical spiritual frame of reference? We are part of a multiplicity, each a distinct spark of creation, so of course we all see things differently. Looking for same-same is impossible and not something I want.

Knowing that everyone in the office has a very different spiritual frame of reference, I asked them what they thought of the question. One staffer suggested the woman ask that her Flower Essences be cleared of any energy she is not aligned with. This felt like an excellent approach.

Another staffer commented that this was a great approach for practically everything as every exchange of goods and services involves something created by someone who might not have been in a good mood when making the product. Asking for any energy that is not in alignment with you to be cleared from anything you purchase seems like a good idea.

Another staffer keyed in on the person’s concern that something about the Flower Essences was alien because my language about Flower Essences was outside her belief system. This staffer suggested that the person consider the possibility that everything is part of Divinity no matter how we parse it with language. Could she just think of the Essences as a creation from this unity? I liked this way of holding the question.

Here are some of my thoughts. Green Hope Farm Flower Essences stand energetically separate from my beliefs. It is not necessary to agree with ANYTHING I believe for the Flower Essences to serve you. I would hate to have this otherwise. The Flower Essences have their own integrity and energy separate from my point of view or ideas about anything. And that is a very good thing!

What a disservice to the Flowers this would be if people had to in any way share my world view to work with them. I am so sorry my language choices can alienate people. Flower Essence exist beyond my limited language choices and always will.

So why do I write so much about my partnership with the Angels and Elementals when I know this might alienate people? One reason is that these beloveds are the meat and potatoes of my life. I am not sure what I would write about if I left them out! Additionally, writing about them is one way to thank them for their boundless generosity and loving companionship. Another reason is that I want to make it more acceptable for people to acknowledge numinous experiences.

Back in the 1980’s when Green Hope Farm was born, the culture of northern New England was very affirming of Angels. This encouraged me to look at my life differently and both remember childhood experiences as well as open to more experiences with Angels and Elementals. No one had been very interested in a spiritual perspective on life in my childhood, so I learned to shove my experiences away from me as unacceptable and irrelevant. Angel talk helped me remember parts of myself I had shoved aside. It was a reintegration of lost parts of myself to own my numinous experiences.

As I consider this question, I have one other thought. I encourage people to decide if some Flower Essence or some experience or some relationship is right via a nonverbal, nonanalytic process of letting ourselves know what we know. WE REALLY DO KNOW WHAT WE KNOW! One of my main goals in all I write is to empower people to trust their own experience of things and just feel what they feel. Please don’t let my frame of reference or choice of language every deter you. I know you know what is best for you.