Patriarchy’s Thyme is Up

Yesterday was an incredibly beautiful day. The light was soft, yet because it’s been so dry, the light was also very intense. Everything seemed almost unreal in its crisp dilineation. After the UPS truck had roared down our hill with the day’s packages, each of us wandered off to our evening lives. Taking a page from Will’s book, I went down to the Rose garden and settled into the shade of big sheltering Alika Rose right next to the overflowing vegetable garden. I lay there as a dog or a kid might. I watched the few wispy clouds of evening blow in and the honeybees enjoy the flowering Broccoli. I chewed a stalk of grass and found myself in a joyful, mindless place.

This was a good moment in my ongoing skirmishes with my inner patriarch, for there is certainly still a part of me that buys into our culture’s mania about productivity and the accomplishment of goals in contrast to the joys of lying in the grass doing nothing.

I notice my crusty old inner patriarch more intensely this time of year than during other seasons. Summer can be a bit of a juggle for a gardener and the end of the summer brings most everything to a head.

Impossible ideas of how much and how perfectly I can accomplish, produce, achieve, and meet goals are damaging ideas to carry at any point in the year. It is a blessing that during the harvest season, when so much ripens at once, I am forced to look at these ridiculous mind ideas that still pull at me. Late summer gives me so many opportunities to throw out my lingering patriarchal ideas, one aimless happy moment at a time.

Yesterday, as I lay in the grass with pears rotting, apple trees laden, tomato vines burgeoning, shelling beans rattling in the wind. and potatoes ready to be dug, that tired out patriarchal mind tape that it’s a crime against humanity not to can every last tomato or make every last basil leaf into pesto for the freezer was silent. The happy moment in the grass had swept aside my tiresome list of shoulds. I was perfectly content doing nothing and didn’t even need the reassuring news flash that the world had not fallen off its axis because most of this year’s pears are destined for compost pile.

Because the world is nothing if not synchronistic, as I take on my inner patriarch with renewed enthusiasm, I find myself hearing of your struggles to lay down patriarchal self expectations as well. One lovely woman whom I talked to last week felt she was healing, but her inner patriarch kept telling her she was not healing fast enough. She told me a part of her story. I was in awe at how much courage it took to simply get up each day, let alone heal faster. She was a mirror held before me about all the ways in which I go patriarchal and convince myself that I am not moving fast enough.

Right after this conversation, I talked to a man who wanted to share with me his thousand and one suggestions about how I could run Green Hope Farm better, the way a real red blooded American business is run. He suggested the kind of complete makeover that would have pretty much eliminated all the things that actually make us feel real to each other, you to us and us to you. Sometimes I get confused and take this kind of call personally. Because I was thinking so much about our collective patriarchal wounds, I just felt sad for him as his suggestions continued. If he made this many suggestions to a complete stranger, I could only imagine the brutalizing patriarchal demands he made of himself. How unfortunate that the culture had convinced him it is not acceptable to be his own self . How unfortunate to believe he is only okay if he is all things to all people. Since most of what we learn from any given situation is from the vibrational exchange and not the words spoken, I didn’t say much to this gentleman, but I hoped that my good cheer in the face of all things he found wrong with Green Hope Farm would give him pause to experience that perhaps there was another way to be than to Walmartize his life and business while simultaneously beating himself up with a patriarchal 2X4.

As I study patriarchal wounds in myself and others, it’s hard not to notice how many of them are tied to issues of time. Time is one of the core ways we are wounded and controlled by patriarchal values. I can’t recall a single story you have shared about a health situation in which you felt the status quo gave you the time you needed to make a decision about how to proceed. Come to think of it, I can’t recall anyone in ANY situation mentioning that he or she was given enough time to make a decision. Whatever time we have, it appears we have to engage in hand to hand combat to take this time for ourselves. Nothing in our culture says, “Slow down, take your time.”

A completely anecdotal bit offered here about why taking time might in and of itself be a healing experience. A friend experiencing high blood pressure asked me for thoughts. As he wore an enormous digital watch constantly telling him patriarchy’s idea of the exact time, I suggested he take off his watch and see what happened. His blood pressure almost immediately dropped significantly and stayed that way.

One time difficulty that I have struggled with as an adult has to do with a learned response from my childhood. Out of its own woundedness, my patriarchal family of origin expected an immediate response from me to any of their questions or demands. Unable to actually come up with immediate responses, I numbed out to the process of even beginning to feel what I felt and learned to look for clues in their faces about the “right” response to please them. How this affected me was to make my physiological response to almost any question a frozen feeling, yet simultaneously I expected myself to know the “right” answer and felt a lot of shame when I didn’t.

This kind of conditioning to think we should be able to offer immediate answers favors the existing social order of patriarchy, because when we don’t have time or give ourselves time to feel what we feel or know what we know, we will usually fall back on the rules of the culture. These cultural rules support overextending ourselves by doing way too much, expecting way too much of ourselves, and trying to be all things to all people.

It’s been a conscious process to shift how I deal with any question or decision. I remind myself I actually have time to make a decision, learn how I feel and know what I know. I sit in my heart and wait to feel and know. If I don’t get clear how I feel, I wait to make a decision. Jim has been a great support of this process,. He frequently reminds me of the sacred feminine principle that when we give ourselves all the time we need, the waters of indecision will eventually clear and we will find our own truth.

One way this has played out in my life is in the running of quirky Green Hope Farm. I never expected to run a business of any size. As questions arose within and without during the early years here, I experienced that frozen panic and anxiety that came from the false idea that I needed to decide things immediately. Jim, along with my guides, constantly encouraged me to give myself time to answer any question. This led to a business not run in a conventional way, but in a way that reflects my truths. As I think about my years of finding my way and unlearning my learned childhood response, I feel there is no more profound tool for dismantling patriarchy than GIVING OURSELVES TIME.

The degree to which I run a maverick organization and live true to myself is a direct reflection of giving myself time to find out who I am and who I am not, what Green Hope Farm is and what it is not. Even with something as small as the pear harvest, I needed to give myself time to know that a time driven harvest of the whole crop was not a necessary self definition of me as custodian of the farm or a defining characteristic of this place. Lying in the grass in a timeless moment, I was relieved of the burdensome misunderstanding that a pear harvest would ever define me. Only God defines any of us.

Each of us has within us a pool of divine wisdom and love, but it takes time to settle into this pool of love and illumination. It takes time to let go of the distractions and confusions of a culture that would tell us to skip the pool and stick to it’s set values. And finally, it takes time to sit in the pool and know what we know.

I can think of no circumstance in my life where I regret giving myself time to know how I felt. I look back with sorrow and increasing compassion on choices driven by reactive responses born from my patriarchal wounds.

Because I have been trying to untangle this time related wound for a long time, I’ve been drawn to make such Flower Essences as Thyme from Omey Island, or the Omey Island combination Essence and, of course, the Sacred Feminine Flower Essence combination as well. The two Irish Essences were made on a Thyme covered tidal island, once a celtic refuge when patriarchy came to Ireland and a place that continues to exist apart from any patriarchal time defined civilization. It is the rhythm of the tides and the tidal water that sweeps across the sandy flats between the island and the mainland that compose Omey Island time. No digital watches drive this island’s heart and soul.

These Essences, with their wisdom unhitched from patriarchy’s sense of time, call to people more and more these days. I am so happy whenever a bottle leaves here. It is encouraging to think of a timeless way of being flickering to new life in our lives. What a call for celebration to know thyme’s up for patriarchy. I think I will go celebrate right in this timeless now. Will I sit and watch the goldfish in the big pond? Will I sit in timelessness with the bees? Will I munch an after school apple with William while stretched on the still green grasses of the farm? I don’t know yet, but one thing I do know. The making of more Pear Cider is not on the docket.

Cutting One’s Losses

A week or so ago it was peach heaven.


When the wind blew, the laden branches knocked against the windows of the office and we would be reminded to go outside to get a few to eat.
Nary a peach got canned because between us, we just ate them all. Quite happily actually.

Then suddenly the pears were upon us.

In the heat of some very hot days last week the pears went from very green on the trees to too yellow Pears get a sort of gritty texture when left to ripen on the trees. There were suddenly a lot that were too yellow and too ripe. We picked the still green pears and shared them around the neighborhood. Then Will and I decided the thing to do with the too ripe pears was to make some pear cider.

On Friday afternoon, I made a test run batch and got a gallon and a half of pear cider. Things went fairly smoothly. William and I were set to take on the bulk of the overripe pears on Saturday morning.

However the pears got just that more mushy overnight. As we went to press the ground up pears through the press the pears mushed and squirted out all over the place. I needed but did not have some sort of muslin bag inside the press to keep the pear mush in. Apples are drier and have more body, even when ground up. This serious mush problem had never developed for us during apple cider making. Meanwhile we had a zillion ripe pears, a press that was goobing out the sides with volumes of pear mush and a zillion yellow jackets swarming the operation.


Here’s an action shot of the pear mush squirting up onto the top of the pressing board.

We had problems in River City. The stuff coming out wasn’t cider but glop and this glop wasn’t exactly going through our cheesecloth and strainer with ease. The tiny amount of liquid being produced was just enough to drown the hundreds of yellow jackets falling into it and not much more.

William had the best idea. He said, “Let’s do something else.” So we left the mush to the yellow jackets and took the dogs for a walk.

Sometimes it’s such a good thing to have someone around who knows the moment to cut one’s losses.

Had it been up to me, some warped notion of not wasting the pears might have kept me at the press all day, cranky and covered in pear stickiness. But Will knew just how to cut through the gordian knot of worry about making the most of the harvest.

He knew that rambling with the dogs on a lovely September day was a way better harvest to carry into a long New Hampshire winter than a pint of yellow jacket infused pear sludge.

Thanks God for William!