A Place of Healing

By Green River Preserve

Green River Preserve is a place of healing, even if you don’t feel like you need healing. You can be totally fine, out there living your life, and when you show up at GRP, things are instantly better. Rachel Carson, in her book Silent Spring, says, “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature-the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter." Though Rachel Carson wrote this before GRP existed, here we have similar assurances that provide “infinite healing” and “reserves of strength.” We have traditions here, and they are precious.

We are assured that the Cabin Snails will decide who has the cleanest cabin each day. Without a doubt, we will sing crazy songs about salamanders’ faces. We know that at the end of each day, we will share pieces of our lives during Rose, Bud, Thorn. One of the most sacred of our traditions is Sandy’s readings of Chief Seattle’s letter at the Upper Council Fires that begin and end each session. The letter begins with the question, “How can you buy or sell the sky?” You cannot, and our campers learn that here. The letter is a reminder to respect the Earth, to think beyond ourselves, and to reflect on the time we spend here.

As the session goes by, the letter gains meaning. During the first fire, it may only seem like a beautiful story to the campers. However, each day the campers’ understanding of the letter grows. They learn Leave No Trace Principles. They see trees and mosses and ferns. They ask trees for permission before taking their leaves. Then on the last night, Sandy asks the campers how their thoughts about the world have changed during the session. Each camper has a different experience, but all leave with a healthy understanding of themselves and their interactions with others.

Audrey (ATI2)