Just last week the landscape was cloaked in grey, still sleeping in winter’s blanket. And now, life unfurls in all directions—slowly opening a little more each day with brighter bursts of color. Winter was the great inhale—the inward journey into the darkness, into hibernation. And today, on the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the great exhale has arrived. Birds sing. Flowers pop. Rabbits run. This seasonal turning point beckons the perfect balance of night and day, each expressed at equal length, calling us to join in a harmonious dance with all of life.
I sink my hands into the rich, dark soil of the garden my husband, Matt, and I started one year ago. With great care and attention, we’ve tended this soil—adding layer by layer of compost and woodchips. I smile as I uncover earthworms, overflowing with gratitude for the soil’s vibrancy and creative potential. The green onions, kale, arugula, brussel sprouts, and broccoli that we planted in the fall are going to seed—completing their lifecycle. These seeds are shaped by the previous year, providing a strength that can only be known from the carving of past experience. In the coming weeks, following the last frost, we will bury our spring vegetable seeds and begin the cycle again, this time with a bit more wisdom and humility than when we started this journey.
We bought our home and half-acre lot with the dream of building an urban homestead. Although we had no experience, a deep calling to live more harmoniously with nature gave us the courage and commitment to embark on this path. After experiencing years of frustration with the construction industry’s destructive practices, Matt quit his career as a structural engineer to lead the project. I continued working my job to bring in financial support, along with providing research assistance and an extra pair of hands. Little by little, we’ve come to live our dream more each day. Just as the turn into a new season reminds us of change, the transformation of our land reminds me of the renewal we’ve also experienced within—a profound internal renovation cultivated by our relationship with nature. As we started to live more harmoniously with our land, we also experienced more harmony within ourselves.
Unlike the master mindset that has precipitated and perpetuated startling levels of destruction, we see ourselves as stewards of the land. We plant native species to provide food for animals and insects—expressing gratitude for all they do while also kindly guiding them away from our garden. Through this, we’ve also started to treat ourselves more gently, no longer forcing our bodies to operate in a particular way or pushing for sparks of creative insight to emerge. Our need for control has started to loosen its grasp. With the same loving hands we use to tend to the land, we also lovingly tend to ourselves.
As the sun breaks through the wisp of a cloud, I find another acorn burrowed in the soil taking root. My bucket is full of them. One after another, these acorns grip into the Earth, eager to grow. The weeds are also relentless. I pluck them and whisper loving blessings, honoring their life. I’m amazed by nature’s resiliency, its propensity to multiply, flourish, and recover. Even after devastating storms and manmade interference, life springs forth: a small flower busts through a crevice, a deer creeps over downed trees, a seed splits. As I reflect on my personal history and the scars that remain from thick pain, I still stand. In moments where I’m brought to my knees, writhing in darkness, stripped down to the bone, I know my reclamation day will come once again. Life isn’t fragile. We will carry on.
I empty the bucket of weeds and acorns into the forest for them to decompose. After a long day’s work, my body yearns for rest. I lie on the cool ground, resting there, basking in the light. A dreamlike wave swallows me, and I hover in the liminal space of the conscious and unconscious. There’s nothing to do, no need to rush into the next moment. Time drops. I float in the expansive now. Before Matt and I started building this place, I would run everywhere. I was consistently behind. There was always something else to chase, another achievement to catch, one more check to make on the to-do list. Striving drained me. I fed the future. And when I did, I starved myself. My relationship with our land liberated me from the race. The urge to perform and prove faded away. And now, like the tree that doesn’t exist as anything but a tree, I also exist as I am, in this moment. Acceptance feels like freedom.
If you seek a more harmonious relationship with the Earth and yourself, I recommend exploring the programs and books available through the Olympic Mountain EarthWisdom Circle (OMEC). The OMEC mission is to encourage a sacred and responsible relationship with the Earth and preserve the ancient wisdom ways of indigenous shamanic cultures. Harmony calls out within us and beyond us. I hope you answer.
From my heart to yours,
OMEC Board Member