The Botanique (a beautiful weekend)

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A large neighborhood lake was on the left, children playing with intertubes, and the day was warm and sweet with autumn tinged air.  We turned right into the parking area of what once was a school in 1919.  But it certainly wasn’t your typical school of that era, it felt more like we entered Italy.  All marble and wood floors and magazine inspiration.

 

I am making the tinctures for my cousin’s new line of medicines that she is releasing along with her already well known body products.  H2a is the company she and her daughter, Sierra created years ago. Their products have been previewed in Vogue and can be found in spas and retail stores.  Heather’s new project is The Botanique in Fort Collins.  An event space, a class space, a retreat, an Air B&B, a respite, I was drawn in instantly to the serenity and sheer beauty.  A beauty that makes you feel beautiful just witnessing it all.

The chicken yard was built off of an old adobe outbuilding, its fresh wood and chicken wire a lovely contrast to the old structure.  We do love chickens so Doug and I immediately got out of our car and walked over to see what breeds she has.  As they pecked around in the sweet dirt, we admired the back of the property, that below the dirt lies quietly an asphalt playground of old.  Heather plans to build up with beds and create a lavender madala and rose arches.  Doug pointed to a spot perfect by the adobe wall and curved door for farm-to-table dinners.

Years ago, when all of our children were quite small, the grown cousins would all choose a name to buy a gift for at Hanukkah.  When Heather was still married to Doug’s cousin, I would always hope that she picked me, as our style is almost identical. Her sense of vintage and practical with elements of joy have always been drawn out perfectly through her design work, her homes, and now The Botanique.  I wanted to stay in our darling room with the large bath she created for days.  Walk in showers and bath spaces are being created throughout the resort for ancient bathing rituals and cleansing.  A space to heal.  A space to restore.  A space to feel beautiful.

The property is filled with raised beds that a friend of Heather’s runs a volunteer program with.  She teaches and works with youth to grow many varieties of produce and then sell them in CSAs.

I walked out of our bedroom early, glorious in good sleep, and headed to the kitchen.  Through the wide double doors of my dream kitchen I could see my lovely cousin in a warm sweater, her blond hair messily put up and a cup of coffee steaming from her hands as she walked softly through the filtered light of morning rays streaming through the large windows.

The Botanique is a place to ignite one’s senses, restore one’s soul, and is incredibly accessible and not far from home. https://www.thebotaniquefortcollins.com/

 

The Life of a Healer- Part 1 (oddities and healings)

dandelion

I remember that little girl rather clearly though it was many a year ago.  Her name was Wildflower and I can see her now with her wispy brown hair and big blue eyes planting dandelion seeds in a circular pattern in the neighbor’s yard in hopes of creating bountiful yellow meadows on that city block.  Even then, at six years old, Wildflower understood the importance of dandelions and was ever baffled at those who attempted their demise.

animals

She was a bit of an odd child, I recall.  She spent most of her time playing alone.  She kept only a few close friends.  Her friends were the trees and the animals.  She had a special bond with animals, an empathy that confused those near, and a deep compassion for all living creatures.

As the child started to grow she spent most of her time at the park reading, or writing poetry.  She would feed the ducks and they would lie along the edges of her blanket by the lake, under the large summer trees.  She would feed squirrels by hand and chatter with them as they would her.  Again, only keeping a few close friends, she spent most of her time alone among animals and nature.

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When she was quite small her parents were Atheist and so Wildflower would test God.  “God, if you are real, help me with my homework!”  Every time she did her English work she would ask to find a word in the dictionary that was required and would turn to the page and point to it with her eyes closed.  Every time she found the word she was looking for.  This surprised and delighted the young child and long talks ensued with the Great Spirit.  Her parents became Catholic and so did she and Wildflower fell in love with all the prayers and quiet treasures of silent reverie.  She wished to become a nun and spend her entire life writing and reading and praying and helping animals and people.

mother cabrini

When Wildflower was nine years old she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Such an odd thing for a child to experience and for five years weekly visits to doctors, too much aspirin, and very painful times commenced.  The doctors simply could not help.  At fourteen years old it was time to be confirmed in the Catholic Church and a retreat was taking place at the amazing Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, Colorado.  This is a place with awe inspiring views and a sense of true peace and miracles.  The fountain where Mother Cabrini struck a rock to bring water forth is still there and those searching, praying, or praising go to this miraculous place.  Including, at the time, a bunch of rough and tumble teenagers with little respect and a strong sense of rebellion.  Wildflower remembered the teenagers as they gathered in a room in the old house where a small, Hispanic woman with a quiet presence stood.  The children made jokes, made light of the heavy air.  The woman called the first child up and made the sign of the cross on their forehead with holy water.  The youth leaders were behind the young man as he stiffened and fell straight to the ground, being guided by their knowing hands.  There he lay paralyzed as she prayed over him.  The teenagers sat speechless.  When it was Wildflower’s turn she walked up, nervous about what would happen, and she too fell straight back and lay on the patterned rug staring at the ceiling paralyzed.  The mysterious woman leaned over her and said that Wildflower would begin speaking in tongues and that her arthritis would leave her body.  Wildflower was carried to a couch where the words of a higher power began to flow out of her mysteriously and without aid and through her fingertips a rush of power flew, all the pain that she could handle was rushing through her fingers and out of her body.  She was shaking and being comforted by youth leaders and in that moment was healed.

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This would be the first of four miraculous healings that would occur to the young healer long before she knew her calling.  She knew the plants and herbs and animals and the Great Spirit but did not yet know the herbs’ practical uses as she was still in a place where no one knew that plants could speak or heal.  So, even though she tended wild flowers, she knew not that she would work with them in the future.  Because after a few years she became lost….