I am in my fourth ‘incarnation’ in this lifetime.

Harry_in_Alaska

My first incarnation was as a pharmaceutical chemist. I made drug candidates for an international pharmaceutical company for nine years.

My second incarnation was as a personal computer support specialist for fifteen years. I helped computer users solve problems with their DOS/Windows and Macintosh devices for fifteen years. (Mentioning DOS should date me as fairly ancient!) I have always liked to ‘solve problems’: crossword puzzles, anagrams, Sudoku, computer programing, getting misbehaving personal computers to perform properly…  This incarnation also allowed me to teach users to better use the technology and a little programming.

During my third incarnation I farmed, part time then full time for sixteen years. I always used organic methods and later learned and used Biodynamic principles and methods. Farming also allowed me to solve problems: weather, disease, insect infestation, better fertility, new crops… Later during this incarnation, I became convinced others needed to know how to feed their neighbors and community, so a pattern began to form: teaching.  We took on interns and taught them our methods of growing vegetables and flowers.

The problem with teaching interns is, as much as I enjoyed teaching them – and learning from them – I realized I really did not want to be a boss. We had grown the farm to a size that help was required. Relying on others, however dedicated and capable they may be, and supervising is just not in my nature. And… seventy-plus (emphasis on plus) hours per week was debilitating for an aging hermit-at-heart.

My fourth incarnation is a resurrection of a late childhood/adolescent passion.

During high school, I became interested in wild edible plants. I asked for books by Euell Gibbons for birthdays and Christmas. That passion was flamed by the rise of the ‘environmental movement’ of the last 1960s.

I had also been intrigued by chemistry since a young age. Somewhat naturally, these two interests merged into a fascination with medicinal plants. My study of chemistry in college expanded to botany and I ended my formal education with Bachelor of Science degrees in both. I intended to study ‘pharmacognosy’: finding the medicinal component in a plant.

During the long gestation for this fourth incarnation, I have learned this pursuit is folly. It is the exquisite complexity of the entire plant that heals. Actually, it is the entire complexity of the plant and it’s habitat on a micro and macro scale that provides the ‘medicine’.

So coming full circle, this fourth incarnation involves making plant medicines and teaching the young (and young at heart) Nature heals in its particulars and its entirety and Nature is both supporter and ward. The problem to solve is instilling a love for this planet so it will continue to support and nurture our descendants.

Now I get to teach, solve problems, practice chemistry, be a hermit, be out in Nature…  the best of all worlds for me.

Welcome to Grandparents of the Forest service and Sacred Forest botanicals.

Harry