The land is as beautiful as ever. We’ve been blessed with abundant rain this fall and snow in the mountains. Animals have been thriving all over the land as the land rests and recuperates from a busy year. We’ve had visits from countless migrating birds, toads, frogs, deer, fishers, weasels, skunks, fox, coyotes, bear, bobcats and mountain lions. We had an enormous bob cat kill a deer on the land this fall and all kinds of visitors passing through have cleaned up the remains.
Our gardens were mind blowingly gorgeous this year. The flower and herb garden that Julie tended just opened up and grew and grew into a place of sanctuary. Gabe cultivated another year of abundance in the greenhouse and the surrounding outside garden and orchard. He and his helpers were able to provide endless veggies for our school and of course beauty. The bees are doing great. We currently have three hives and growing. We had masses of cherries and apples this year. Lots of juicing and preserving is still paying off.
Tom Kray built an incredible grape arbor, which we were able to enjoy while we feasted on the hanging grapes all fall. Julie canned countless tomatoes and peppers which equaled salsa, salsa, salsa. Come this summer and enjoy the salsa! I can’t say enough about our gardens. Thanks to Jean, Julie, Gabe and everyone else who put their love into them and helped with the harvesting and preparation.
Jean and I will be teaching two new classes this coming year. One kid’s class and one adult class. We will have more information out about these classes soon. They will be focused on redesigning your world. I’m very excited about this idea. Let’s put our heads together as our founding fathers did and redesign the world to work for all living things. We can give this idea life at Headwaters and put it into motion. This will also be our theme throughout our teachings in the school.
We will also be offering an adult retreat week the first week of October. It will be based around nature awareness teachings and bringing those skills into your life, but it is also a week of re-energizing. Sweat lodges, body work, crafting, vision quest, sauna, meditation, wonderful food and community, relaxation in nature and life mentoring. If you are interested in joining us for this regrouping week please give me a call. We will limit the number of participants for this week.
Last year we were able to assist 20 students with some financial aid to be able to attend Headwater’s classes. We would really like to be able to extend that help to many others who are in need of some help. Each year we have just a handful of generous people who donate to the Walker/Hupp Fund, which provides some scholarship money. If ever there is a need to give back this is the organization that could really use your help. We ask that each student in need of assistance at least pays for part of their fee even if it’s in payments, and that they fundraise on their own as well to help defray the costs. Then in turn we are able to help some as well depending on how much money has been donated each year. Again, Surprisingly only a few people donate, even knowing how much this helps these kids. Your donation is a tax write off. And we could really use your help. No matter how big or small of a donation it will all add up and it comes back at you ten-fold by knowing you made a difference in someone else’s life. As most of you know a week, a month, a summer is life changing at Headwaters. Please help out so we can teach more people to wake up and be of service and to live an honorable, full and exciting life.
We accept checks made out to: Upper Reaches P.O Box 1210 Mount Shasta, Ca. 96067
Our Apprentice program is thriving. We had 40 apprentices join us in 2016. Apprentices take all of our classes for anywhere from 4-9 weeks, as well as receive extra mentoring and participate in extra classes only offered to apprentices. They learn how to help run our camp and care take land, and they also go deeper into the teachings and participation in areas they are more interested in learning about. The Apprentice Program is available to anyone ages 11 years through adult, that is truly interested in learning more about nature, and being involved as an active part of a like-minded community. If you are interested in participating in this unique, and special opportunity please call me so we can talk about having you join us. It is an amazing life changing experience.
This April we will have our now annual BBQ work weekend. Look for the specifics on our group FB page. It will be the weekend of April 13-15th, 2017. Our community will join back up and work on whatever projects need to be done around the camp. Have some great reunion time with each other, I’ll hold a lodge, and we’ll have a BBQ night, and a pot luck night. Really looking forward to catching up with friends. Let us know through our email if you are coming and Julie will send you detailed information.
About my photography:
I photograph nature as a way to show my love of nature. Photography is my art, my love, my passion. This year I produced 3 books of Mt. Shasta. I’ve been out and about this fall and winter photographing the beauty of this area. I feel so blessed to live in Mount Shasta. To live and work in a place you love, doing what you love and being blessed to do work that makes all life better, is to be a part of a greater good. It’s a greater good that lives in all people when we’re at our best coming from love and purpose and kindness, living beyond ourselves.
I’m working on a photo book of the Oregon Coast, which should out in 2018. This has been a 10 year project. I love the coastal mountains. Future photo books I’m also working on are the Big Island of Hawaii, Kauai, Southern Utah, the Owens Valley and Yosemite Valley. So yes, I’m a little busy. I just don’t understand people who say they are bored. There’s so much to do and enjoy in this world!
Currently, my most important book project is a nature awareness book on reclaiming our birthright to be Earth Keepers, caretakers for our planet. This will be an amazing nature book designed to help people find their path in nature and become warriors for our planet. I’m working on getting this book completed by early 2018. I need your help. I want your stories of deep nature connection, your poems, your thoughts. If I have space I will put some of your stories in this book. So send them to me as soon as possible because I am already putting the book together. Mail them to P.O. Box 1210 Mt. Shasta, Ca. 96067.
Special thanks to our elders John Brennan and Tom Kray. They built, repaired and created countless things around our camp and land. From woodworking to plumbing, you name it, they did it. They maintained function and created beauty for everyone. Both Tom and John are examples of how great humans can be when we want to be great. They are two men in our community who are held in great respect and honor. True men of service. Ho! To John and Tom.
I want to thank our Amazing staff. This thank you is from the core of my being. I have such gratitude and love and respect for our staff. Often as the leader of Headwaters I receive much credit. The credit goes to all of our staff. They are the beating heart of our school. Love and gratitude to all of you. To Julie, Jon, JT, Aidan, Caitlyn, Lina and so many more. Lou, Michael, Simon. To our elders, John and Tom. To our dogs, Ben, Jackson, Georgie and Cooper. So many people volunteer and work just to be here and give back and keep our community thriving. To all of you thank you! Much gratitude. Headwaters and how it runs is a beautiful thing. It gives hope that humans can do the right thing.
I want to give a special thank you to Jean Sage, my wife. Jean supports our school in so many way, most of the time behind the scenes and doesn’t get the deserved recognition for her selfless efforts. Jean supports me to be a good teacher and person. Our school is at our home and her support helps make everything happen.
Thank you to Julie for all of the work she does from cooking, to running our camp, to organizing, to watching and protecting. Julie caretakes our land, runs our camp and office and about a zillion other things. Ho! To Julie.
A big thank you to all of our students who come to Headwaters. You all make my dreams and vision for our school real. The students are the beating heart of our school.
Also, a big thank you to all of the teachers who bring their school classes here. Thanks for trusting us with your students. It’s always an honor. And along that same line thank you to all of the parents for bringing your children to our school. Thank you for your trust. Your children are sacred to us. They are our future. Teaching and mentoring them with you is what we are all about. A healthy earth and happy people.
I thank our land and Mt. Shasta. We live and work in the most beautiful place on earth. What gratitude I have. Love to all.
I really look forward to 2017. I hope I see you all up here this coming year. I love what I do and will continue on for many years.
All the best!