Suggestions Please

Ava Devenport essenheal at
Mon Jun 19 18:05:02 EDT 2000

Dear List Members:

I am about to embark with a small group of youth to my little piece of 
heaven in Colorado.  There are two 17 year old girls in the group that have 
made this trip for the past 4 years and I'm running out of 'new' to teach 

Most of the youth in my groups have been females, and I've noticed there 
seems to be a 'new' type of feminist emerging.  No longer the bra-burners, 
but the young women who feel they can be feminine and also exert 
themselves.  I'm not saying the feminists of the 60's-70's weren't 
feminine, but others seemed to percive us in this manner.  The emerging 
feminist I see knows who they are, are strong young women and are committed 
to their children and the land.  They nurture and have a strong commitment 
to the future.  As I've seen things, the young women today are making more 
of the decisions as to where and how they live, whether it be with a mate 
or alone.  They seem to have more interest and commitment to returning to a 
more nature-based way of life.

Over the past years, I have worked with these two girls in particular, they 
were both city girls, one from a 'bad' family, no father, mother took in 
drunken/drugged mates, was content with paying the way just to have a man 
and was content to be a waitress, have fallen arches and carpal tunnel 
syndrome, rather than educate herself beyond her highschool diploma, even 
though she could have.  The other young girl comes from a very stable 
family, her parents are both teachers, but she had never ventured more than 
50 miles from home and was very protected.

I see these two girls from very different backgrounds come together and 
meld their minds and personalities as though they have always been 
together.  They were in awe the first time they ever saw the sun set over 
the Rockies, in more awe when they saw for the first time in their lives, 
stars and planets in the blackness of the night with no surrounding city 
lights to obscure the view.  I taught them how to camp and hike, build a 
fire, forage for roots and grow their own food.  How to make soap and 
shampoo from wild Sweet William and a little borax and hot water.

They have worked with me, side by side, clearing silt from the ravines and 
hauling it to mulch garden beds, they have learned how to truly listen and, 
in the silence, hear nature.  They have learned how to feel subtle energies 
coming from the earth, people, animals and to sense the energy flows around 
them.  They know how to make 'pottery' from clay they've dug and added sand 
to, how to color their tiles with plant decoctions, how to cultivate and 
reforest and restore.  They can make their own adobe bricks and build 
beautiful monuments, walls, fireplaces and ovens.

They know native plants and their importance to the land, how to use them 
for tea, food, medicine, how to wildcraft with integrity and always put 
something back.

What more can I teach them?  Or, should I now begin to learn 'from' them?

They will spend the next three weeks living with the land, they have 
courage.  It's hot now in the high mountain desert, but very cold at night. 
They used to be afraid of the cows, now they respect the mountain lion and 
the bear with her cubs.

There's a traditional sweat lodge happening about 200 miles north of us 
that will incorporate the teachings of the Stone Clan People.  Should I 
take them there for a new experience, will it be too much for them?  They 
also go to the HerbFest with me in Iowa and have endured grueling volunteer 
schedules at the botanical sanctuary in Ohio and re-developing the wetlands 
in a state park near us.

I love working with the youth, especially the girls with their high hopes 
and their fears of tomorrow, I don't want to push them too hard.  Any 
suggestions?  What would you teach them if you could?  I need to know this 
before Wednesday and would truly appreciate all input.


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