by Nisargo Troy
Until just a few days ago you would have never thought we are only a few weeks away from Christmas. The weather was balmy enough to play pickleball on our beautiful tennis court, in shorts and T-shirts! The 7 miles of trails were still firm and dry enough for hiking and people were found gathering on front porches for coffee in the mornings. That all changed abruptly on December 7th, when the first snowstorm of the season touched down in the area and brought 7 inches of snow to Heartwood. What a beautiful sight to see after a long stretch of dry weather!
The past two months brought many opportunities to enjoy living in community. We had a lively Thanksgiving with many attending. The day began with the annual Turkey Trot, a hike around Heartwood land followed by coffee and baked goods in the common house. Much laughter, inspiring conversation and above all so much gratitude was felt by all.
As we are moving toward the upcoming holidays, individual households will be celebrating in their own unique and individual ways in their homes, honoring traditions of old and new. Candles are being lit on menorahs and advent wreaths, houses are beautified with colorful lights, and family and friends come to visit.
On solstice we are invited as a community to a fire ceremony by Tom, a wonderful tradition he has offered for many years. Bright and early at 6:30 am on December 21, we will gather at the beautiful community fire circle located on our land to celebrate the return of the sun and the shortest day of the year. This is what Tom has to say about the event:
"This time for ceremony and ritual grounds us; a time of drawing inward and grounding or anchoring our intentions. This is also a time of renewal. We can make some kind of change in our physical environment to honor the change of season and the power of the Solstice.
"We also have cause for another Celebration: raising the Totem Pole over Heartwood. It was a long time in coming, but we finally did it! Thanks Barry and Jack for setting the foundation and for Tom’s friends, Matt and Dan, who helped take it down, bring it over, and put it back up.
"The Totem Pole stands as an acknowledgement of the Spirit of the land and comes as a symbol of our deep and abiding gratitude for all that Mother Earth provides and for all that we have received."
Our celebration team has been busy planning as well!
Mimi is baking sheets of ginger bread that will be transformed into a replica of the cluster of buildings at Heartwood and then decorated by members. This has been a beloved event in the past and many are looking forward to its return. Stay posted for pictures!
On Christmas Eve we will hold our annual Posada. La posada, in Spanish literally means “the inn,” but when it refers to this Christmas tradition, it entails the reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to rest. In this year’s Posada at Heartwood we will begin with caroling around the Christmas tree on the common house terrace and then proceed to visit, and rest at, designated front porches and backyards, enjoying libations and food offerings, warming ourselves by fires along the way. A cookie and gift exchange will wrap it all up in the common house. So much fun!
We hope this letter finds you healthy and well. We wish you the best of the Holidays and a very Happy New Year!
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