Monday, September 17, 2012

9/18/12 - on my way to Troutdale, VA. On the internet, 2012 consensus shows a population of about 200 people nestled into these foothills, located approximately 40 miles from Abingdon and about 150 miles from Asheville, NC.  
 Kudzu along the roadside everywhere - so magical looking - 

Early evening I arrived at the home of Deborah Partridge (aka "Dancing Green Woman"). "DGW" introduced Brevard into my life in 1991. We've known one another for about 20 years, and perhaps have spent a total of 3 hours together during all that time. After Brevard's passing from this world in 1999, she and I sustained our connection through letter writing.  Even though more recently our connection has turned to the convenience of email, I will always savor our snail mail times.


Lodging with "DGW" 5 days made it very clear that she has the spirit, confidence, muscle and stories of a pioneer woman.

                                                  Love that t-shirt - "Simple Abundance"

Your swinging bed was an ideal place for the fairy me treehouse lover to rock to sleep .. so cozy!

Dancing Green Woman, 
you are an amazing basket weaver and it was my pleasure to watch you at work.  Every morning rising early and heading outdoors to the backyard fire pit to soak the reeds in that big iron pot.
 If that sounds witchy... it was and I loved every moment.  The song below by Bonnie Lockhart which we sang together around the fire more than once deeply affirms our connection to one another and to the beauty, power and mystery of the natural world.

Who were the witches? Where did they come from?
Maybe your great, great grandmother was one
Witches were wise, wise women they say
and there's a little witch in every woman today.

Witches knew all about flowers and weeds
how to use all their roots and their leaves and their seeds
when people grew weary from hardworkin' days
they made 'em feel better in so many ways.

When women had babies the witches were there
to hold them and help them and give them sweet care
witches knew stories of how life began
don't you wish you could be one?
well maybe you can.

Some people thought that witches were bad
some people were scared of the power they had
but power to help and to heal and to care
isn't something to fear, it's a pleasure to share.
Dancing Green Woman, what a fabulous time we created together ~ walking the trails, identifying the native medicinal plants that surround you - dong quai, ginseng, goldenseal, comfrey, black cohosh, motherwort, dandelion, burdock, and more, feasting on garden herbs and wild edibles (and my favorite... burdock... yum!)

Thanks again for sending me off with several burdock roots and sage!
 Listening to the song of the creek, sharing stories, singing and dancing free spirited with our mama earth, watching nostalgic shows like Red Skelton and Monk, listening to ole' tunes on your record player (yes, record player!), playing Rumicube (great game - i'm hooked!), Monsoon Thai, Hot Tub Sunday..... and of course it was lovely visiting with Krissy, Cheryl and India too!

I had the privilege of witnessing the steps that go into creating these gorgeous basket weavings.

Preparing the fire pit

Making the dye - the dye color is determined by the bark, roots, petals, peels, vegetable fibers, hulls and leaves added to the pot.

Hours of spent soaking, boiling and straining to extract the dyes.

Marveling over the magic that is worked around the large cast pot as the dyes simmer over the open fire.

Once the dye is ready, the hanks of reed are added to the pot of dye.

Adding  reed to the dye.  It simmers and soaks for a long time.

A bowl of freshly dyed reed.

Drying the reeds...

 Variously colored dyed reeds are set out to dry...


That porch railing surely does come in handy as a drying rack!

 Wow! that added turmeric certainly does yield a fabulous yellow.


Beauteous dyed reed colors are ready to be hand weaved...

... those skilled hands

 and passionate heart...

create the most beautiful baskets!

Abundance of basket sizes, styles and colors galore!

 "The colors of nature and the feel of her fibers are the basis for my creations.  
You may wish to include your own fabric, bits of crochet or natural fiber cords to complement your decor.  Strips from a much-favored and worn garment can come to life again in a basket for your home.  
My works are enjoyed throughout the United States and in Europe.  Each piece is unique in its variation of colors, texture and distinct appeal. The character of each basket flows through my fingers and is dictated by the feel of the reeds and vines.

To find out more about Terra Nova Handworks
 one-of-a-kind naturally dyed baskets,
 I invite you to email:
Deborah  (Dancing Green Woman)

Thank you again -Dear One- for a fabulous visit. My whole being is nourished by close and conscious living with the land.  It was an honor and pleasure to love and play on the oh so fertile land that is so dear to you that you steward so well.  What a gift to be surrounded by national forest and cradled in your beloved El'Honiah (mountain of God).

It gives me great pleasure to have a gathering basket
joining me on my trip!

9/16/12 and 9/17/12 -  I'm in the small, quaint, art-centered town of Abingdon, Virginia visiting Jim and Jimmie Lou Bowden.  The parents of my deceased true love John Brevard.  As I passed the exits leading to the family home, I felt Brevard's spirit so strong as if he was sitting in my passenger seat. Dearest Brevard, our love will never die.  You are with me always.

Jim & Jimmie, the performance at Barter Stage was grand!  Sure wish Dick could have joined us too! Barter Theatre is such an amazing place.  It began in 1933 with one man's idea to have patrons pay with produce and has grown today into a year-round theatre with more than 160,000 visitors each year.  If any of you readers visit Abingdon, go to Barter!  Check it out at:

In Abingdon, Jim pointed out to me this cotton plant displaying beautiful blossoms and nut shaped boll.  Inside the boll are the cotton fibers.

As I gazed upon this plant, I am being reminded that when cotton was harvested by hand, folks toiled in those sweltering cotton fields day after day separating the cotton fibers from the seeds within the boll, picking up to 450 lbs. of cotton a day and paid 1 cent per pound. Can you imagine?

There are many wonderful places to visit in Abingdon, and one of my favorite besides Barter Theatre on this trip was visiting the Olive Oil Company on Main Street.  I've never been big on wine tasting... but now oil tasting... thats my kind of place.  32 varieties/combinations of extra virgin and infused olive oils from estates in both the northern and southern hemispheres, and balsamic vinegars aged 12-18 years from Modena, Italy.

These beautiful handmade baskets on the shelf are designed and created by Deborah Partridge, and I am thrilled to say that I will be visiting this amazing Appalachian artist on my next stop. Yahoooooo!
I've spotted wolf sculptures around town - what's the story? Similar to the artfully designed whales along the shoreline in Connecticut, there are 52 uniquely designed wolves of varying sizes, shapes and decoration spotted around Abingdon created by local artists. In the Fall, an auction will be held and the proceeds of wolf sales will go to the town of Abingdon in support of needed beautification improvements of the town.

Why Wolf?  Abingdon was formerly known as Wolf Hills from 1775-1785.  This name came to be in 1956 when Daniel Boone gave the name Wolf Hills because his dogs were attacked by a pack of wolves while exploring this area on his way west.  Later this area became known as Black's Fort, and  finally Virginia Legislature named Abingdon in honor of Martha Washington's ancestral home in Abingdon, England.

Jim & Jimmie Lou,
My heart has been deeply blessed by our coming together again, and how wonderful that Eitra could pop in for a virtual visit too. Brevard's spirit shines upon and within your home and I know that you feel that as I do, and we all know that he is delighted that we shared this precious time together.

I will always remember those famous "Bowden-isms" 
Jimmie Lou's "Bless your heart - sweet thing" 
Aunt Jane's "Thank you Sugar"
...and of course ringing the goodbye bell family tradition
  - such a special tradition -

Postscript: All my life growing up in New England, I pronounced Appalachia with a (long a) sound and discovered here that its pronounced with a (short a sound as in cat). Thanks for letting me know Jim!  The education of traveling is such a wonderful thing!

9/15/12 - THANK  YOU Margaretta (Maggie) for that incredible transformational healing! I am so grateful that I listened to my heart when it whispered the night before to ask you for a healing. Thank you Christine for encouraging that opportunity. Being very particular about opening my energy field to others, it is only when I am encouraged from within, that I know that all is divine accordance, and I open myself up in trust. Sure glad I did because that healing session was LIBERATING!!!  When you said you saw flames rising up in my energy body, it brought to mind all the fire spirit work I'd focused on the prior two weeks. This session unhooked and burned away limited patterns, defaults and beliefs that have held me back in specific areas of my life.  I feel this glorious shift and celebrate!
 I feel like this sculpture on your wall - birthing a new and fuller me!

The Rebirth of  Dancing Flame! The fire of spirit is dancing and singing through me!


As you suggested, I am taking note off all that I have done to bring me to where I am now. It is an important reminder to honor all the steps, no matter their size.  Acknowledging our steps cultivates gratitude and integration, which informs the next step.

Honoring the presence and synchronistic timing of full bloom cactus and the healing presence of feline Satchi.

Maggie, thank you again for that marvelous outdoor bathtub experience.  A perfect way to follow up that magnificent healing session! ahhh.......