chapter two – hudson, rox and susun weed

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The bright lights and the buzz of NYC were dimming into the distance… I’d headed out to Hudson on the most chilled out train drive EVER with it’s luxury seats WIFI and power socket that allowed me frivolous endless FaceBook catch up time, lots of fun photographing EcoFemme cloth pads against the glittering backdrop of sunlight on water, and decadent naps; all the while warmed by the sun-streamed window and stunned by views of wooded wide open river valleys.
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Eventually we idled into Hudson where the polite conductor announced the stop and assisted people down the steep steps onto the platform. I glanced upwards under the weight of my burgeoning backpack across the car park, and there was Roxanne standing cool outside her Little Grey VW Rabbit.
How to describe her? I’m not certain I can encapsulate the energy of this rare glittering person! All I know is that despite feeling decidedly ‘under the weather’ this woman managed to make me feel at home in her house, welcomed as a fellow menstrual sister, and also gave me this intangible feeling of joy and friendship and an excited feeling of rebelliousness at breaking the menstrual taboo over conversations with coffee.
Serving as a venue for her project embodyperiod; in her words ‘menstrual and sexual empowered embodiment from the depths up & out’ Rox’s home Aletis House is not just any home –  it’s a sensual delight. An exquisite collection of all things beautiful; eclectic mixture of classic old fashioned furniture feminist art and indigenous artifacts… It was the kind of home I could (and did) run around for hours whooping enthusiastically at the utter heart and soul contained there. I Love Oliver; beautiful grey chilled out dude and Rox’s little guy for 10 years…
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Happy days passed in pure contentment at this place, my bed was so tall and comfortable I had to take a running jump just to land on top of the mattress. I had no wish to leave it’s four walls, or oasis-like back porch perfect for languid lounging in the warm spring sun. Leaves were unfurling in glorious greens and reds, the light grew hazy and orange and Hudson shone.
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Soon it was time for our workshop which felt intimate deep and peaceful as we explored the archetypes, the characters of the menstrual cycle (if you menstruate you will know what I mean). It was a gentle and dreamy process that worked beautifully within Rox’s cosy home. We stayed up late, discussed, talked and shared. Burned the midnight oil.
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I went to bed that night feeling wonderful – falling in love with this work more and more each time I go through it; finding my way, the words, my own flow.
(It must be said I also surprised myself from the depths of my being earlier that afternoon too – in 2 hours from beginning to end I cooked these three vegan dishes for the lucky workshop participants; something I didn’t hesitate to broadcast on Facebook at the time!  Mmmm beany goodness, salad, and a delicious rice dish from Lee’s wonderful cookbook Peace and Parsnips thank you love Xx)

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The very next day…

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“I’m chasing my womb around…” The husky deep tones of Susun’s deep and womanly singing voice filled the air as we approached the circle at Susun’s Moonlodge in Woodstock, late but licking our lips (for we had got a beautiful bite to eat in Woodstock after a fascinating drive in through all manner of Trump territory derelict collapsing houses and woodland). This is Woodstock.

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In the circle women were singing moving rotating twirling smiling flicking their hips and doing all the actions to some wonderful Susun-songs I only wish I could remember now to tell you all about.

I had a giddy feeling inside as I moved closer to see Susun dressed in flowing red, in the flesh. Doing her stuff. Telling us that Flax seeds and Red clover help with cancer. Giving us health advice, storytelling charismatically humorously captivatingly. Soon we were asked to sit in age order looking along the circle to our left to see where we had come from and to our right to see where we are heading… The oldest women started off the talking circle with a talking stick; the others listening to her wisdom and tales.

A mischievous chuckle erupted from Susun rewarding the storyteller every time she described anything slightly rebellious or told us of her wildest womanly behaviour. The more outrageous, the deeper the chuckle that escaped; sometimes a wheeze. Infectious. Laughter. I was dazed and overjoyed to be a witness to it all, and to be a part when it became my turn.

Stories, themes, ideas, experiences melded into one; however I do remember a woman telling us all that no matter how hard we try “You will never get it all done.”
There was a story which gave me goose pimples and told of a woman in an emergency room who protected her best friend from the surgeons knife. She boomed “I would not let it happen to her; NOT on MY WATCH” in such a deep tone it still affected me now as I type weeks later.
Women spoke of embracing the dark side, giving a voice to it, listening to it, not hiding from it… and there were younger women there listening wide eyed, learning. We all were.
(There was a story of ‘the woman who crossed the line’ set in a sweat lodge ceremony that got raucous laughter from Susun.)
There was also the story of the woman who did things that scared her – and she admitted that out of all the herbal courses she could do… of course the one with Susun TERRIFIED her. So she had to be here. More wheezes.
There were stories about not having a voice, stories about having a voice. Stories from the young, some from the old.
We headed inside to the wild woman centre when it rained.
On the way home Rox and I lifted a Trump sign.
I left Husdon happy and completely fulfilled, on a train bound for Boston…
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