Since we are a family of fair-weather campers, this beautiful outing represents the last trip of the year. And what a splendid time it was! We were so grateful to be invited along to this private remote campground. This place was gorgeous and had some pretty luxurious amenities, as far as camping goes. It was a real treat to enjoy the company of good friends in the natural world. The community of Balsam Mountain has it's own nature center, where we got to learn about their resident creatures and experience the training process for their hawk, Zeus.
Such an inspiration it has been for me to attend the Southeast Women's Herbal Conference! This is the third year that I have attended the conference, and the first year that I have officially taken photos for the event. I am filled with gratitude to meet so many wonderful healers, showing up to participate in making change in the world. The exchange of ideas, energy, support and feeling of community was so uplifting. Some really inspiring women that I enjoyed seeing there were herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, wise woman Alisa Starkweather, energy healer Laurel Mamet, herbalist Suki Roth, yoga instructor Sierra Hollister and extraordinary musicians Leah and Chloe of Rising Appalachia. There were countless others who made the weekend so memorable and fun. While it was a different experience behind the camera, running to and fro to capture images, I still got the opportunity to connect with others, enjoy the beautiful location and delicious food (all inspired by Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions. For me, one of the most nurturing parts of the weekend was to participate in heartfelt community ritual. Singing, drumming, lighting candles, holding hands in circle, celebrating the light in all of us around a bonfire on a starry evening... these moments will stay with me through the long days of winter and beyond.
"If ever the world sees a time when women shall come together, purely and simply for the benefit of humanity, it will be a power such as the world has never known." quote from Alisa Starkweather