The wild requires that we learn the terrain, nod to all the plants and animals and birds, ford the streams and cross the rivers and tell a good story when we get back home. - Gary Snyder in The Practice of the Wild
The culture I live in in my dreams and more and more in my waking life is one of connectedness and deep relationship with people, plants, animals and the land around me.
I started an herbal business under the name Kitkitdizze back in 2009 as a nod to one of my heroes, Gary Snyder. Gary Snyder was definitely my gateway-drug to understanding deep nature connection.
On a whim, in a bookstore back in 2003ish, I picked up his book A Place in Space: Ethics, Aestheics and Watersheds by Gary Snyder sometime towards the end of college. I think the cover caught my eye because I was an architecture student and words like “place” and “space” and “aesthetics” were our calling cards.
The third to last essay in the book, Coming into the Watershed really wove together a lot of threads for me: from site observation we learned in architecture school, to contextualizing the climate studies we did when learning about sustainable buildings to understanding the state - California - that I had just moved to and to integrating my love of the earth and being outside from childhood spent outside, gardening, camping and building forts.
Since then I’ve studied permaculture at Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, herbalism with Candis Cantin among others, and Deep Nature Connection through 8 Shields and others.
I cherish my local community, my neighborhood full moon potlucks and gift circles and I still practice many of the community skills I learned from a decade of living in a co-op. I tend my wild, urban yard in ways that benefit the bees, the birds, and respects water if not always pleasing our neighbors with their crew-cut grass.
My dearest identity, now, is Mama. Some of my favorites are watching my son toddle around the redbud nibbling on flowers or harvesting tomatoes in our garden or delighting in the cold river water.
I’m a licensed architect, designing mostly affordable multi-family housing with an ecological bent. I love moving my body to endorphin fueled exhaustion (much quicker to achieve these days with more kiddo wrangling and less focused activities). My favorite ways to do this have been bike touring, rock climbing, running, and acro yoga. These days I’m taking notes from all Katy Bowman’s podcasts and “stacking my life” to fit movement in around raising my son, tending my garden and wildcrafting for my family’s medicine cabinet.
I honor the land I live on by spending time on it, experiencing it first hand, touching the earth and recognizing the plant and animal neighbors we share space with and then sharing the stories.