We are lying on our backs with our eyes closed in a mandala of human forms, cushioned by a carpet of dun-colored pine needles, sunlight dappling our faces and bodies as a gentle breeze plays in the boughs of the three gentle giants, the Ponderosa elders standing guard around us. We each receive a misting of PINEal hydrosol, a drop of Ponderosa cone essential oil on the forehead, a light brushing down arms and legs with a Pine frond, and a weighty cone placed in our hands. The gurgle of the creek nearby and the soft, repetitive rhythm of an elk-hide frame drum coax our capable intellects into relaxation, and we open to our impressions. We simply are for a space in time. Our heartbeats find a steady groove held within the pulse of Life in everything around us.
When we return to sitting, each one of us is invited to share from our experience with the Ponderosa Pine. The points of similarity become threads of themes in this circle, and from group to group we have brought to this place. We are amazed and delighted at how our stories weave us together and into the fabric of the natural world. The palpable sense of connection to these wise beings evokes awe, that rare emotion that flashes through us like a wisp of feathered lightning, and gratitude flows easily into the opening it leaves in its wake. It is subtle, but it’s powerful.
The distillation workshops we held this year brought together vibrant and varied groups of people from Arizona, Califonia, Colorado, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. Each person brought something to the group that no-one else could – as we worked together, talked together, listened together, ate together, thought, dreamed and laughed together, and shared in the collaborative creative process with the Plants, the Stones, the Fire, the Water, the Earth, the Air, and our human heads, hands and hearts.
What a joy it always is to see the smiling faces of wonderful people, who want to learn about where essential oils come from, arriving at our driveway. What a gift it is for us to share and learn together with each of you! And what a blessing to watch each unique group of precious individuals drive away knowing that our lives are changed forever by each other’s presence.
(excerpt from the March 2017 Newsletter)
Eric and I spent three weeks this winter in the beautiful and interesting town of Paonia, Colorado, for another stint of recycling Christmas trees into House of Aromatics essential oil. Our herbalist friend, Lisa Ganora, recently bought Elderberry’s farm in Paonia, and had invited us to set up and distill there. The town has a program to pick up trees in January and drop them in a brush pile, so we figured: it’s a big enough town, should be plenty of trees all in one place. Easy. When we got there, there were maybe, let’s see… 6 trees. Hmm. Plan B?
We took off that same day for Carbondale, an hour away over the McClure pass, to do some reconnaissance. Last year we distilled trees from their pile, and we already had permission to do so again, just in case. We were thinking we might rent a truck and haul trees back to Paonia if we needed to. The pass was slick that morning, no problem in 4WD, but the thought of driving a U-haul over it did not appeal, to say the least. We needed all the information we could get to make the best possible plan: how much for the rental, what’s the weather forecast on which days, what other routes could we drive, how much are chains for that size rig, and would we be financially better off just to rent the thing, load it with trees, and pack off for home to distill them there? Our thinker-brains were busy-busy!
Meanwhile, we stopped by the Carbondale tree pile first thing to see how it looked, and they had already started chipping it and were maybe halfway through. Yikes! We were just in time. It was a holiday, so we figured we had no time to lose, that they would probably start chipping again first thing the next morning. So we decided to rent the truck now. It’s a good thing we did, because when we got back to the tree pile, the chipper was already running again, holiday or no! The crew of 5 awesome guys heard what we were up to and shifted into gear helping Eric load the bushiest trees into the truck, while I lopped good limbs off the sparser trees. We went from “let’s think about this” to “LET’S DO THIS!” in half a second flat. We ended up with a 20’ U-haul packed floor to ceiling with several species of Fir and Doug-fir, smelling like Christmas itself, and by the time we came back over the pass we didn’t need the chains after all. Anybody need some snow chains, 225.75R15 ?
The “packing shed” at Elderberry’s that became the “distillation shed” for 3 weeks this Winter.
Those trees gave us some really beautiful oil, and we’d love to share it with you! Holidays Return 2017 is the special this month-ish at 10% off.