Lessons in Balance - A Visit from Beks of Cauldrons and Crockpots

Sometimes I struggle to explain the nature of the interwebs and social media to my parents' generation.  And I suppose that if you haven't experienced connecting via the internet, it is difficult to imagine how it is that people can form such strong bonds without having ever met in person.  And certainly there is much contemporary criticism of social media, of how it can potentially be isolating and prevent flesh-and-blood relationships.

I view this issue with the same lens that I do plant medicine; the medicine lies in the dose and how it is used.  Just like in real life, some friends made via the internet are casual; these are the people who can provide good ideas, business contacts, and sometimes, just pleasant chatter.  And also just like real life, if you cultivate the positive, you will occasionally meet people with whom you have a deep and genuine connection.

If you're a regular reader, you know that Rebecca of Cauldrons and Crockpots and Kings Road Apothecary is a friend that I hold dear.  We met through blogging, and bonded nearly instantly.  In the last year, you wouldn't believe the sheer volume of words exchanged between us via email.  Not only is she my collaborative partner for the Wild Things Round Up, but Beks is my sounding board for all things in life.  Without her trusted ear and unfaltering honesty, I doubt I would have been quite as successful as I have been.

We've been planning to meet for a full twelve months.  And at last the opportunity came, when she drove up for a visit after attending the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference in New Mexico.

I'm thankful that we've always been very true to our personalities in all our communication, because meeting in the flesh was simple and welcome, not one bit strange.  The Rebecca that I greeted was the same Beks that I had known all along.  And even after our time physically together, our interactions remain unchanged - familiar and good and strong and dear.

As you might imagine, we spent most of our time together wildcrafting, cooking, and sharing lovely meals.  I had expected as much, and the reality lived up to my expectation.  We had an unforgettable picnic in the snow, an hours-long festival of food at the Pinyon, so bountiful that they had to shove two tables together to accommodate all of the food we ordered, and we made jam and wine from ditch plums.

But the thing that caught me off guard was the lesson that repeated throughout our visit, time and time again, no subtlety involved - that of balance.  Most of my big life lessons come about in this manner.  I start out in the fervor and joy of foraging, or cycling, or being out in my beloved mountains.  Inevitably, in the process of doing, of moving, of experiencing the cascade of life, the lessons come, ticked off like time, grains of sand to the wind.

This time, with Rebecca, no matter where we were, no matter what we were discussing, no matter the ground we tread, the take-away was the same - the unstoppable pull of all things, all life, all forces, toward balance.

As we drove through the forests, and witnessed the ocean of grey trees caused by the push of pine beetles, we agreed that it was just part of a greater cycle, a swing on Nature's see saw, the beetles killing off masses of trees which had been allowed to become too dense through human influence.  Balance.

As Beks taught me about the Ayurvedic doshas, and how they related to behavior, cravings, and medicine, I heard the same lesson.  In this case, how the human body is constantly striving for homeostasis.  Balance.

Then there are the two of us, opposite in almost every way imaginable, from the types of foods we like, to our sleep pattens, to our endurance, to the colors we like, to how quickly we eat, to how clean we keep our cars.  But instead of causing friction, it creates a beautiful and delicately strung harmony.  Balance.

In every corner, with every step, whichever way the ball is turned.  Brutal, fierce, and just.  Balance.

Sweet and timeless.  Every day, every minute, every blink of the eyes, unstoppable change, and also... balance.

The gravity of this lesson echoes loudly in my mind, a grandfather clock in a lonely room. 

And so, as Beks gave me a wrenching bear hug, kissed my cheeks, and drove away, my heart grew a few sizes, just like the Grinch.  Instead of my head being filled with new plants and recipes, my heart held a deeper wisdom which warmed me like autumn sun.  No matter how they come into your life, hold fiercely to the meaningful people, appreciate the fullness of their beauty and character, and how they add color and balance to the fabric of your soul.

I had a lovely time, Bekka.  I adore you completely.


  1. Aw, Buttface. I adore you back. Miss you like crazy. XXXXXXXXXXXX

  2. how crazy wonderful your visit together sounds! To have found the ying to your yang - what a blessing! A two table meal - now that is LIVING!!!! Just a little jealous Rebecca - I want a week with Butter!


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