January 1, 2018. A lovely clear day, warm enough to walk in with just a light jacket yet cold enough for the frost fairies to still hang out at Alder Junction.
I got a GPS tracking app, Map My Hike, as recommended by my friend Katrina and carefully walked every inch of trail and connecting spur at Ffynnon. I now have what I've wanted for quite a while - a truly accurate map of Ffynnon's interior space, where we have been working, and what areas are untouched.
OK, I think it's really cool. Some things that I thought faaaar away from it all are actually relatively close, just curled about in such a way as to seem distant. Other areas that seemed quite close are actually a longer hike than I realized. I suppose that's an effect of the elevation change we have of over 200 feet from the bridge near the Ancestor Shrine on the S. Ravine Loop Trail to the God Shrine up on the ridge where the Doug Fir give way to Red Cedar, Alder, and Big Leaf Maple.
Winter hiking is a treat. You get to see the forest in a way that is obscured by summer's lush foliage. I can clearly see the movement of water across the land. I can easily spot the few dead trees we have and plan for either their removal or allowing them to remain as habitat for the creatures that make dead trees their home and/or food source.
It's like the forest is inhaling in summer, filling its leaves with the green fire and becoming brushy and fat, and exhaling in winter, letting all the deciduous leaves return to the cycle and showing the secret spaces between that are otherwise hidden.
There's so much life going on. Salamanders are slooowly swimming through the winter waters that full every low spot in sight. The frogs are actually peeping, even though frost stays all day in the deep shade on the south side of the hills.
Ffynnon is so alive, and I feel grateful to be a steward of this magical place. I feel grateful for being part of a group of people who share a common vision and who continually open to both the new, and the now. The CSA field is resting from last year's labors. The chickens and all of our new chicks are doing well. Next year our flock will top 50! We have ambitious plans Ffynnon and I'm looking forward to getting to work.
Today I'm cutting firewood with a new friend Chris Morasky. We've just about used up the last of the stores created by the cutting of the Dionysos Circle several years back. Now that was an adventure!
I'll end with this: May each of us take a moment and be thankful for the stewardship in our lives. May we realize that our bounty comes from the earth and rests on the broad shoulders of those who have gone before. We arrive, share the labor and the fire at the center of the circle for a short while, and step back into the dark, making room for the new and unexpected. May our lives be filled with gratitude and shaped like a prayer of love.
Thank you Ffynnon, for this day...now I'm gonna go play in the woods.....!