Some of my earliest memories are of climbing on the kitchen counter to reach the peanut butter and bread, making a PB&J sandwich, and calling out: “Goin' 'sploring, Mom.”
Mom, bless her, didn’t quash my early (or for that matter, later) explorations. She instituted a practical rule. I could go so far as long as I could see the roof of the house. For a 5 year old that was quite a swath. There were three houses on our road and acres of old forest. I’d climb the hill behind the house and wander among the trees. There, I’d find arrowheads and remnants of stone walls from another, long gone generation. Except that they weren’t. Gone that is. The spirit of the place was alive and, for me, profoundly comforting. These woods were my home – the past echoing between us.
I’ve always had a connection to 16th century Colonial America. Somehow, I’ve understood how to doctor using herbs, cook using wood fire, fix using tools from that era. I went so far as to do Rev War re-enactments and quit when they wouldn't let me be on the field as a doctor. I have distinct memories of doing just that.
I experience times of heartache and deep longing for the ancient woods of New England. It’s been more than 20 years since I moved away and that doesn’t dampen my homesickness. I feel it most acutely in October when the leaves are turning, the cold is flirting with the heat of the sun, and the first pick of Macoun apples is cause for celebration.
A decade ago, I assisted Sara with a gem energy medicine seminar. It was autumn in Phoenix. During the workshop Nan (another practitioner) and I were exploring and keeping track of the inventory of gems. I noticed a dark green necklace whose beads had striations of lighter green. It seemed like every time I was in the inventory, this gem necklace was in sight, somehow making itself apparent.
After we finished the seminar, I decided to check out this necklace. I took the necklace out of its bag and held it up to the light, appreciating the patterns of striation. As I coiled the necklace into my palm, I was transported to the ancient woods of New England. This ancient place of lichened stone was surrounded by a cathedral of trees. It was quiet and yet hummed with earth energy. I felt the vibration through my palm and instantly all parts of me synchronized. Any homesick melancholy evaporated. I was there. It was here, in me. Harmonized. It was fantastic. Home.
Dr. Christine Girard is a physician and educator. Prior to medical school, she worked as a sous chef and baker at a vegan, macrobiotic restaurant. She lives off-grid in Northern Arizona.