Forage: The Rose and the Hip

What is Forage? A kind of inner tracking, a wild wander, observing how the gifts in the wild or garden reflect the gifts within.

I realize now, that the idea for the name of both my photography business and my educational business comes from a  kind of ‘forage’ experience.   In what ways does a ‘fruit’ or example from Nature mirror or symbolize a human process?  The Apple Star, is the core revealed, not cut out, the seeds of future creations intact, the beauty honoured!

The Rose and the Hip

It’s easy to admire the rose, in full glory, full sent and splendour, isn’t it? but not so easy the haw, the seed, the hip. Hard, blood red, seedy and itchy to boot, this little bounty has it’s treasure well hidden. She’s thorny too, marking territory, entwined in an never-ending dance with the Black Berry Briar, we watch those once juicy black nuggets drying on the vine, and marvel at their simple giving of themselves to us, compared to the complex extraction needed to taste the healing of the rose hip! A what is this weird, puff of a hairy nest? Is it true a wasp lies within? This is what Rose hips bring up for me:

“When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.”

Kahlil Gibran

Thank you Omi Grace for walking with me, listening to me, and gathering with me.  Thank you too, for standing your ground and expressing your boundaries, and making the tea, that I couldn’t make!!  Belinda White

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#forage #wildwander #wildwomen #rosehip #innertracking #pinions #Kahlilgibran

a truly precious ceremony

in the centre of a pond,

surrounded by family and friends,

blessings to you Amanda ad Abel.

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” To love my body fiercely is truly revolutionary.”

“oh, my breats are uneven! Mama breats!” Even when her youngest daughter is not here beside her, that bond of breast-feeding is present in the body of mama Omi Grace as she embraces her own power feet washed by the river, our great earth mama’s breast, nursing us with the waters of life; arms stretching high like the Cedar trees to the sky, Goddess rising! You are so beautiful Omi.

 

#awildwomanproject #wildwomanproject #rewildingphotography #goddessrising #lovemybodyfeircely

Beautiful, Wild, Searching Naomi

“All of us are wild deep within.” A Wild Woman Project

What can I say about you, sweet Naomi?  Meeting you changed my life.  You ‘saw’ me. you ‘heard’ me, you ‘knew’ me.

You witnessed, named and honoured my deep sharing and vulnerability.  You thanked me for my tears, and cried with me at our first gathering together, and in so doing cracked open a space in my judgement:- haha, I thought you were perfect, young, beautiful, partnered, happy.  Our meeting, the time, conversations, and visioning we’ve done since has contributed so much to my understanding of A Beautiful Mama Project and A Wild Woman Project.

Walking down to the river to pray, play, cry and work through shame, fears, lost dreams, deep desires, and new hopes and visions with you…hands and feet in the mud, searching, probing, the constant trickle of flow, the rich earth, Cedar growth and death, constant.  The rich, rich smell of it all, loamy, wet, so incredibly female….thank you for your vulnerability, thank you for you questing, thank you for your gentleness with yourself and with me, thank you, Naomi, for helping me understand my wild craft, my wild photo wanders.  I can’t wait until the next time we create together, we hold space together, we cry and love and love together.

I love these words you have written on rewilding.

“Rewilding to me is a remembering, a tuning into the Earth & her sacred, ancient ways & energy.  Of beginning to match our nature with Nature.  To allow ourselves to listen to our heart beat & the heart beat of the earth, air, water, fire & begin to bring balance back within ourselves & so then without us as well.  To allow there to be seasons within our lives & to allow shame & guilt to melt away as we listen to our inner knowing & learn from others who are walking this path & who have walked this path before.  To unlearn all that does not serve & begin anew.  Being mindful with our choices, our words,  our food.         But also being gentle with ourselves in the unfolding.

I find it amazing that now rewilding is a movement.  Yet I have always felt that deep connection to be connected with the earth & it is always there.  All of us are wild deep within.  We have just forgotten the old ways.  The most basic of ways.  To flow with our own seasons within the seasons.  To be unwavering in our strength & to above all be connected with all beings.

By slowing down & spending time in nature, gathering food, preparing our own food. Remembering that all food is living & that we must take life to live and yet we can give back and so the circle of life continues.  That, in the end our own lives will end and if we allow return to the sacred circle.  We all need to be humble and we all need to accept and embrace our innate power and light as beings who are here to protect and live as one with this earth.  We are here to create a new way.  Together.”

Rewilding photographic wanders take us on a  journey through a wild and natural landscape that we love or are drawn to, and in so doing we travel inwards, searching for lost or broken parts of ourselves, our wild selves, “collecting the bones” of our personal stories so to speak.  The forest, trees, roots, rivers, shoreline, caves, stone, sand and mud draw us towards them.  Perhaps we tune in to one or another element more, the river forever running, bringing life and taking it away, a babbling brook of women’s voices, tears, laughter, wisdom of ages, perhaps the mud, rich and mucky covering our hands, feet, bellies….there is healing here, on this journey, this process, of wandering over the road, away from the garden, towards that untended self, tracking a wild woman hiding in the shadows, foraging for sweet berries, sweet truths of self, delicious intuition, flashes of realization, there is release here, in casting off domestic shame, slowly peeling off layers of preconception, and allowing Mother’s embrace, Mother’s example embodied in Tree, Flow, Root, Soar, Release, Compost, there is love here, self love, self embrace.

Thank you for your courage Naomi.  Tender Love, Belinda

Naomi and her partner Dante and their two children live in a beautiful, semi wild setting on the land in Sooke, BC, where they offer, facilitate and hold space for rewilding, community, healing, play, spa and wild food events.  They are an amazing, inspiring couple.  I have learned so much from them, recieved so much love and hope. I am ever grateful. <3 Belinda

#awildwomanproject #abeautifulbodyproject #rewildingphotography #bodypositive #downtotheriver #wildwander #rewild #innertracking #wildwoman #collectingthebones #remembering #unlearning #forage

into the depths

a wild woman project

What does it mean to stand there at the brink of the chasm, the very edge of our own shame, our terrifying personal stories of pain, neglect, abuse, loneliness?  We don’t go there, do we? or only very reluctantly.  We have been cast out of our land of knowing, taught to become afraid of our wild intuition, our deep connection!

Let us reacquaint ourselves then with this perceived underbelly, what is dark, murky, unknown, it has been cast for far too long as dirty, evil, something to  be tamed and held back.  What is this mystery that smacks of female depths?  It is all that is fertile, fertile within it’s cycles of rise and fall, struggle and emerge.  It unequivocally vulnerable, shivering at the edge of the lake under the full moon.  It is wildly intuitive.  It is simultaneously gentle, wide-eyed with wander and fierce and bold with protection!

Each wild wander, either through forest, into the river, down by the sea or up into arid climbs takes us step by step in to an inner tracking, and encounter with a forgotten, lost or hurt part of ourselves.

Beautiful S. here stands still for a long moment of encounter with herself and the river, deep, dark, so cold, yet welcoming, cleansing.  I love her tender entry into her own intimate process, tentative at first, and then plunging down to reemerge with a shout of joy on the other side

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It seems so much is of what is unnecessary, hindering, dampening of desire and creative potential is discard by this plunge into the river of trust. And, so much is gained, an immersive thrill that invigorates the body knowing, the belonging, the should connection to a source.  Unfettered from domestic conditions of thou shalt not, wear this, wear that, hide your shame, cover up your scars or breasts woman! do not dare defend your cubs or wail with sadness or shudder with pleasure, woman!  Unfettered,  a wild woman, howling like a wolf scampers up the far side of the river into the thick Cedar at its edge.

I am honoured to be growing through my wild woman project in the presence and trust of some incredible women, who grace me with their vulnerable beauty, their undressing and casting off of outdated shrouds, for some easier than for others, each opening and vulnerable, bold and wild in their own way.  I am grateful to witness their desire to rewild their connection to their own bodies, and to the land body of our Mother, and in so doing become part of this process myself.

with a wild heart full of love,

Belinda

#rewildingphotography #awildwomanproject #wildhealing #wildwander #abeautifulbodyproject #intothedepths #wildedge

forage

At first I wanted to call this ‘food porn’, but then I had to pause, why ‘porn’?  What is it about my / our relationship to sensuality that causes me / us to debase this incredible fruit of the sea?  Why not honour and celebrate this luscious, miraculous, delicate and delicious gift from our Mother Earth, or Mother Sea instead?  And so here she is, hand-picked and photographed by me, Belinda White of Apple Star Photo and steamed, shucked and presented by Andria Green of Real Good Food, an oyster naked and glowing for all to see.  This is where Rewilding revives and reconnects our intimate entwinement and sensual bond with the our giving Earth, our nurturing Mother.  Rewilding excites us, invites us to bask in beauty and in bounty, reminds us who we are  and how we belong.

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#rewild #wildfood #foragetofeast #awildwomanproject #sensualoysterphoto #wildfoodphotography #applestarphoto #realgoodfood

Spring

Death-in-life, Life-in-death

A personal exploration into grief, loss, and gratitude

“When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.”

from ‘On Love’, The Profit, Kahil Gibran

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This is a photo of a drawing by Lori Ann Latremouille https://www.facebook.com/loriann.latremouille

Not long ago, I found myself at a resting place on journey to understand love.  I had found companion like no other, a friend and lover with whom I could share anything and everything.  He held me like no other, he accepted me, he sheltered me while I collapsed after years of longing, fighting, loneliness. The love I feel for this man still, is indescribable.  I am trying to make sense of all that has happened.  It is over now.  He is gone so completely from my life, it is as if he had died.  I am stunned, and groping through the mud of my devastation trying to make sense of it, trying to find the gift…trying to find the lesson.

 

During a walk on Filongley, Denman Island / Salish Sea in the company of a great friend, I walked back through time sifting through the rubble, the sand, the stones, the branches, looking for treasures: why do we cleave to each other?  Why does the Love that brings so much joy, so much life, such richness, also tear us apart?
“As he is for your growth, so he is for your pruning.”  Why is that cleaving so good, so good that we never want to let go?

This is a sacred time of year, a time of death and rebirth.  Much has been torn asunder. What can be sourced form all this death?  On my walk, I noticed the buds, the new life, the young eagle circling above, gulls feeding on herring row, the boys carving spears, and running hollering through the woods, life abundant emerges, doesn’t it? out of the hubris of death….and there, suddenly, at the edge of the clearing, a young dear, felled in its young-just-budding prime, just barely alive, and now already food for the circling young eagle above.  Wow. “Spring is here, why doesn’t my heart go dancing?” by Nina Simone, plays now on my radio…Spring is here indeed, with all its newness, its excitement, its birth.  But death is close by.  I am trying to source gratitude for the gifts, even the dead baby dear.

We went in the cold rain to harvest the fruits of the land, nettles, clams and oysters. Always, paying attention to these gifts of food, we acknowledge that we are taking life, like the eagle, finding life and nourishment from death.  Death-in-life, Life-in-death.  Its the way it is, right?

I am so very grateful for this chance to walk, to wander, to sift through it all, to bear witness to the gifts, the sacrifices, the losses, the transmuting of life force.  But I am struggling with it all, my friends, I really thought I had found a resting place.  Is there ever a resting place?  Why has this man, to whom I gave so much trust, so much energy, all of my love, and tenderness, and forgiveness; why has this man forsaken me?  It may take me a decade to unravel this one, to grow from this destruction.  Friends please be patient with me, I am hurting, I am in pain, so much pain…but I will find a way, I will keep looking, keep treasuring, keep sifting.  I will continue to open my heart, though the North Winds have laid waste my garden.

#deathinlife #lifeindeath #wild #sift #griefandloss #personalhealingjourney

Firemaker,

Filling the Myth Gap,

and  The Importance of Story-telling

I’m editing Firemaker photos finally. I’ve been asked to use some on the website. As I go through them, my heart singing with beauty and belonging, I am greatful for what i have encountered about myself and how I fit in this big picure. Slowly, but surely, I am circling in, weaving my own tale of me: I am a story-teller. I use my gifts of sight of watching, observing, gathering, my passions for life-long learning and honouring our unique gifts, and my voice to share storeis like this with the world. This is my job, my greatest yearning. This is how we fill the Myth Gap, tell the stories that count, and the stories that bind us together. Thank you Firemaker for holding that space for me, for linking hands around the circle and allowing me to stand firmly with an open heart in this beautful space, and give my gifts.

Trust

Can you guess what time of year this is?
Yes, March last year…the gorgeous deep Spring emerging is coming!
As some of you already know my love of photography is deeply intertwined with my love of learning, and observing learning.  For me noticing, and then painting the pictures for all to see, telling the story of Free Range Learning, Wilderness Play, Un schooling, honouring learning styles, and weaving strong attachments to community and place is gorgeous, yummy stuff.  its what I do.  That is why I started Apple Star Photo and Apple Star Independent Learning.  It’s all about trust, being present, and opening your heart. Of course, as a parent I have learned so much from my own child, Daniel, quiet man that he can be, thinker-tinker, explorer, runner. We are both so lucky to have access to Denman Island’s wonders.  Here at Maresia, my parents place, and the beaches surrounding, Daniel has been able to discover the very palpable silence of still waters, slowly drifting air, suddenly brought to life by a soaring flock of sea birds…he’s marvelled at that, and seen the Divine in it.  I always say nature is the great equalizer…She gives us space, space to be ourselves, space to collect, to gather, to disperse, to go slow, to quicken like a pulse excited by discovery.  Space to feel small, and huge all at once.  Space to belong.  She shows us unconditional, bountiful love by holding us to her boossom, and at the same time she shows us clear boundaries – the waters edge, the flight of a wild animal at our approach, the unclimbable tree, the polluted waterway.  Here, with her gifts and her storms, her softness and her edges, we encounter ourselves, our own capacity to love unconditionally, our own boundaries and limitations, lour very own resilience.  This is why free range learning with access to nature, time, self exploration, and freedom of movement and association are so vital.  While I have not been able to give my son the home learning, un schooling I would have liked.  I have done every thing I could to allow for these times.  Watching him grow up with this brings me so much joy.  I am so proud of us.  Dan taught me at the age of 3 to hold baby crabs for the first time.  Dan has been leaping over this stream every year since he was two!  Dan loves to crack these slate like slabs to make natural puzzles.  Dan and his friends run through the tunnel under the road, where, during high river salmon return upstream!  With his walking, sword, drum sticks in hand, my son plays!

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