Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Austria... the beginning of independent pilgrimage.

Austria ~

My last entry was from Findhorn, a place I left two months ago to the day. My departure from Findhorn began at 4:00 a.m., beginning a LONG day of travel, alone for the first time since the pilgrimage began. After a missed car ride and a missed train, I caught a rushed sequence of: 1 cab, 2 trains, 1 bus, 1 flight, 2 trains, and 1 car-ride to arrive in Innsbruck, Austria. There, I joined Jon Young, his family, Mark Morrey of the Vermont Wilderness School, and a host of other wonderful people for an 8 day program training the leaders of wilderness schools from around Germany and Austria.

We were based at a boy-scout camp in the Tiról region of the Austrian Alps. There were about 80 people there for the week-long course on Nature Awareness and Community Resilience. I was immediately welcomed in grand and generous fashion and was able to offer myself in service to the group for the week as part of the "Acorn" (the working team who's task is help facilitate the culture of mentoring and awareness throughout the program for the week, as well as assist all things programmatical and logistical). There was very little sleep involved, but we made up for that in laughter, song, stories, time on the land, great food, and great company. It was a complete joy to work the German and Austrian wilderness community of my generation, as well as to meet and collaborate with some of their elders.

from left: Milan, his father Ron (one of our Austrian hosts), Jon, his daughter Willa, & Mark Morrey

The time in Austria was beautiful. It felt great to be of service in such a tangible way. It snowed almost every day, and the mountains were magnificent. The chance to meet and compare notes with other wilderness leaders from europe invaluable. It was interesting to see how many of the same challenges and triumphs exist in both the US and Europe when it comes to the work of nature connection. Perhaps best of all for me was the chance to bring a piece of home (the nature-awareness and cultural mentoring community) into the fold of this pilgrimage while abroad. It was an incredibly confirming to hear Jon's teachings anew, with ears changed by the power of this pilgrimage, and to recognize the parallels between the learning I have been engaged with while abroad, and that which I carry back home. I saw how it is all one story, one movement for healing and change on this planet at this time; emerging in many places and taking many forms, while moving steadily in the same direction.

Children's "story of the day", Tiról, Austria