July 1, 2009



I have a hard time answering the simple question “How do you like your internship?” Here’s how I put it this morning, to the people who run the program:

Hi Bill and Sarah,

I know you guys are interested in feedback about how the class and internship are going. Strangely, whenever you ask, I seem to become mute and/or inarticulate and don’t really feel myself giving much back. But I was riding my bike around yesterday, thinking about how happy I am to be involved in this class and in contact with this new sphere of people, and I thought “maybe this is what Bill and Sarah are wanting to hear about!” So I’ll tell you.

I am incredibly glad to be taking part in this internship. It has added a desperately-needed element of connectedness to my life that has been missing since I was transplanted here last summer—connectedness to other people, to the community we live in, to the land around me, to the plants that are growing in it and to my own body. It is giving me inklings of visions of where I might like to take my life on a professional level, while at the same time is promoting health and well-being for me on a day-to-day basis that I then transfer (in a very positive way) to people I’m close to outside of class.

Pretty much the only times I feel frustrated about it have to do with my own self and the level of commitment/attention I’m able to give at certain times. I hate that when other things in life come up I have to cut corners from the class or farm day because it’s financially impossible to take the time off from work instead. I’m enjoying being veggie-girl at the co-op, but I’m still having to waitress to make ends meet and I’m now feeling like I’ve never worked harder for less money. Lately my level of exhaustion has made it difficult for me to be fully present in class at times—especially by the time 7 o’clock rolls around—but I want you to know it’s not for lack of interest. It only frustrates me further that by the time I’m exactly where I want to be, sitting on a slope on your beautiful farm, surrounded by healing plants and vibrant people, being given an endless opportunity to learn, that I’m only able to take in so much.

When those moments of frustration arise I remind myself that I entered this with a spirit of exploration, feeling like this would just be the first taste that would let me know if I wanted to take it further. While I’m hoping to get as much as I can out of the class on the clinical level, it helps to remind myself that I have the rest of my life to expand and deepen my knowledge as a healer. I just hope my interest and enthusiasm are at least somewhat visible to you; that it doesn’t always seem like I’m overeager to end class and be elsewhere.

Bill, I know you’ve asked if the tangents you sometimes take during class are an unwelcome distraction or not. I think that if our goal is to become herbalists / holistic healers, it is important that we discuss and think about the way our practice intersects with modern life and the presiding culture of western medicine. This is often where your digressions tend to lead, but I therefore think they’re a vital part of the discussion and often wish we could take them even further. I know there’s never enough time in each class to cover everything you want to cover. I’m all for starting on time and ending on time, but I know you do the best you can.

Sorry to have gotten so long-winded. Hopefully this wasn’t overshare. Again, thank you for opening up your home and your land to us and letting us get in on so much goodness.



Living the dream

June 17, 2009

photo by Candace Hope

photo by Candace Hope

Spent the past weekend at the island with my woman and five of our friends. Unsupervised Island Time is, as it turns out, just as glorious as I’d imagined it could be.

We swam naked in the lake, we paddled in the canoe, we warmed our toes by the fire, we smoked cigars on the porch, we drank coffee on the dock, we did puzzles while it rained, we played poker late into the night, we cooked many fantastic meals and devoured them. The house was full of laughter and love and friends and fun and it made me realize how important it is to fill the island with people. The more people that can see, smell, experience and thrive on the island, the more worthwhile it is to have such a place.

As I ferried my friends to and fro in the rowboat and scampered around setting up shop and then closing it down again, I began to feel like I actually had started becoming One Who Takes Care of the Island. It feels so good to know that I can get myself and six other people to and from the place, host a weekend gathering and then get it all cleaned up and ready for the next round of family. I feel independent and successful and blessed. I can’t wait ’til next time.

breakfast - also by Candace Hope

breakfast - also by Candace Hope


I’d just quit my most-loathed waitressing job and begun an internship on a medicinal herb farm when my parents decided to express their extreme disappointment over my lack of career. My mother called on Monday, near-tears, to declare she “doesn’t know where she went wrong.”

“Eventually you’re going to have to sell out!” she cried. “Your twenties are ending and you’re not even getting started!”

Thinking I’d find reinforcement on the paternal side, as soon as I shook her off I called my dad to get his read on the situation. In cold tones, he let me know that he feels “anger, pity and fear,” when he thinks about me and my current life situation. Awesome. Nothing boosts the ego like having your parents inform you they think you’re a fucked-up waste of space.

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