Renewing The Story

Spring returns to the island.

Teeny tiny whorls of Cleavers (but they have been teeny tiny all winter)

Child-nettles flinging upward — I swear, growing an inch a day!

Long fingers of yellow-green starred with purple-red catkins, a dangle of worms from — which tree? A nibble reveals that immediate dryness–the complete astringency of Red Alder. A quick check on friend Web confirms what my taste buds and body already know.

Oh, and the resinous Cottonwood buds! The windstorm of a few days ago helps me here. So easy to walk along the road and begin this year’s harvest, walking a harvest with friends that took place four–or is it now five?–years ago.

I’m waking up with the land, stretching my arms after a long sleep punctuated by fevered dreams, restless awakenings, sun-dapple imaginings.

As I drive down the long stretch of Cove Road, as straight and tall and probably in some form, just as old
as the Western Red Cedar I leaned against only minutes before, I feel the strong straight connection,

old home with new

It’s like picking up that book once more, finding my place, taking up the threads of story that have crisscrossed and wandered and played about in the wind. The plants and I make medicine.

A Tale and A Storytelling Festival

Deep nature connection, nourishing our true selves and our communities by way of nature, and adventuring in nature with our imaginations, curiosity, and creativity has long been my passion, and has mingled in numerous ways in my harp playing, writing, illustration, healing artistry, and workshops. This Sunday I’ll be offering harp and story at an event that mixes much of the above for me!

Please join me on a little journey ….

In 2007 a group of parents banded together to establish program of deep nature connection for kids. They created a vision and mission for the program — “to ignite relationships between the natural world, self, and community”, hiring some amazing instructors, and aimed to never turn anyone away from any of its offerings due to lack of funds. I was one of these founding parents, and helped craft the vision of what was to become the Vashon Wilderness Program. You can read our full history and legacy here. I resumed membership of the VWP Board last year.

In our program, kids spend their day learning just like our ancestors did – engaging all of their senses to co-create a living ecology for them to love and sustain. With Nature as the living teacher, mentors subtly stretch student’s awareness making learning invisible, effective, fun, healing and empowering.

I’m amazed and delighted that VWP has held to its commitment to support any family who needed assistance in meeting tuition, by awarding almost $50,000 in scholarships to date! This year we saw a dramatic increase in requests for support. As VWP grows, we are holding true to our mission – to give the gift of nature to as many kids as we can.

We are poised to mentor more than 185 youth this year. Will you help us make sure that everyone who wants to participate is given a chance to do so?

Please join us for tales and free delicious treats to delight your senses at our 5th Annual Storytelling Festival. Hear some great local storytellers: Steffon Moody, Mik Kuhlman, Lauretta Hyde, Steve Jones, Jane Valencia, Cyndi O’Brien & more
I’m honored to be offering story and harp at this event!

Here are the details:
February 5th from 4-6pm at the Vashon United Methodist Church. $7 individuals, $20 families. Tickets available at Vashon Bookshop.

If you can’t make the Festival (obviously, many of you reading this can’t possibly get over here!), please consider making a donation to the Vashon Wilderness scholarship fund by way of its website, or by mailing a check to:

Vashon Wilderness Program
PO Box 712
Vashon, Washington 98070

The Vashon Wilderness Program is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Any amount, small or large, is greatly appreciated!

Help us in our mission to leave no child left inside!

~ thank you!
Jane

Vashon Wilderness Program Annual Storytelling Festival

The Hidden Hope Of The World ~ blog post by Michael Meade

I always love storyteller and mythologist Michael Meade’s writing and speaking, and I can’t tell you how much his mythic way of viewing current events and our innate ability to respond to life’s challenges with creative imagination  has influenced my own thinking about the nature of the Soul and it’s capacity to fuel change.   So I just have to point you to a post of his that came out today.  It’s called The Hidden Hope Of The World.  If you are unfamiliar with the voice and thinking of Michael Meade, then you are in for a treat!  Feel free to share your responses here!