Settled Work

By Larch On January 15th, 2015

Sometimes I will say to a young apprentice, “My longest long-term relationship is with a chimney and a woodstove……over 40 years in the same place.” That tends to scare a young person and brings up a reaction of “Oh, if it gets too difficult, I have options……” Living in one place is something like a long marriage. When the Occupy movement was in full swing, I wanted to say to one of those protesters, “Well, why don’t you just occupy a garden, for a lifetime, and see how that works out? Why not try doing something CONCRETE every day?” I once talked to a man who was in an arranged marriage. “What’s it like?” I asked. “Well,” he said, “at first I didn’t like her. Then in the second decade I not only grew to like her, I loved her. And now, in the fourth decade, I deeply love her, but I have to say that more and more, she is a total mystery to me. I truly don’t understand anything about her.” My first decade in this place was like a love/hate relationship. I would go down to the cove after new-fallen snow and watch the sunset: “She’s so beautiful!” and a minute later the thought would be, “…..and she’s so friggin’ COLD!” What’s REALLY scary for an apprentice is when they get a sense that their longest long-term relationship is with an eternal spark that could be characterized as “conscience” or “consciousness” or “intent, beyond personality”. I’m building a storage building for seaweeds at the moment, because I know the world will continue to need a clear source of dietary iodine to protect against the radioactive iodine being released by so many nuclear reactors, not just the mess at Fukushima, and the words I feel like inscribing on the walls of this particular building are “quietude and stillness, emptiness and clarity, presence and compassion, radiance and light”. That’s the predominant mood of the moment, and I like living with people who are waking up to the fact that they’ve been living life after life in endless moods of enlightenment, in sacred contracts, in endless dream. Happy New Year!

 

Tangerine Larch

Dulse

By Larch On June 29th, 2013

This past week during the full moon tides, alaria has been uncovered, and it’s in prime condition.  Dulse is also coming on. Dawn and I scrabbled all over these rocks and down into the surf-filled crevices in order to find the darkest red dulse (it needs shade in order to develop deep colors), and I discovered some alaria in the surf that dried very black.  Pigments = minerals!  Good health to you!

 

Dawn and I decided to pick dulse as close to the open surf as possible.  This is where the most vital plants are found.

Dawn is fearless when it comes to working in tight places while the surf flows in and out.

Sometimes it’s a bit of a stretch…..

Notice the kelp in the deeper water below.

That’s alaria with the yellow midrib growing in the zone just below the dulse.

Scrabbling for a living?  Well, sometimes.  It’s a bit like rock climbing on slippery rocks, and if you’re lucky, you fall in the water when you slip.

See why nori is considered to be labor intensive?  Plants are small, few and far between!

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t trade this work and my “office” for anything!

The Tidepool

By Larch On June 14th, 2013

People ask, “What’s it like to be an apprentice seaweed harvester?  The Crew and I recently worked in a tide pool that is like a big touch tank, and they were quite literally fully immersed in the discovery of it all.  I decided to give you a collection of photos this time.
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Bladderwrack and Middle Heaven

By Larch On May 18th, 2013

On the land, it’s lilacs beginning to bloom, and in the sea, bladderwrack is getting ready to release gametes, male and female, which will unite in the water outside the plants to form a zygote, a fertilized ovum which will settle and attach to the granite sea floor of the Gulf of Maine, part of earth’s great sea-womb.

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Synchronicities

By Larch On March 18th, 2013

A friend who is from India sent me this piece, and I must pass it on. It is a Grand Conversation between Twins in Mother’s Womb:

Baby 1: And you, you believe in life after birth?
Baby 2: Absolutely. It’s obvious that life after birth exists. We are here to become stronger and to get ready for whatever awaits us next.
Baby 1: This is absurd. There is nothing after birth! What would life look like outside the womb!
Baby 2: Well, there are many stories about the other side. I’ve heard there is a blaze of light there, an intense and profound feeling of joy with deep emotions, thousands of things to live for… For example, I’ve heard that we’ll eat with our mouth there.
Baby 1: That’s silly. We have an umbilical cord and that is how we eat. Everyone knows that we don’t use our mouth to eat! And, on top of that, no one has ever come back from the other world. Those stories are all coming from naive people. Life just ends at birth. Period. That’s the way it is and we must accept it.
Baby 2: Alright, then allow me to think differently. That’s for sure, I have no idea what life after birth looks like, and I can’t prove anything to you. But I like to believe that in the next world, we’ll be able to see our mother and that she will take care of us.
Baby 1: “Mother”? You mean that you believe in “Mother”? Oh! So where is she?
Baby 2: Everywhere, don’t you see it! She is everywhere, all around us. We are part of her and it’s thanks to her that we are living right now. Without her, we wouldn’t be here.
Baby 1: This is ridiculous! I’ve never seen any mother so it’s obvious that she doesn’t exist.
Baby 2: I don’t agree. That’s your way of seeing things. Because sometimes when everything quiets down a little bit, we can hear her sing. We can feel her hugging our world! I’m pretty sure that our life will start after birth.