Tag Archives: Mental Health


Big mushrooms, small trees.


My favorite way to spend the day….

There’s a little cabin 1 ½ miles from my place where I find solace.  I pack books, my journal, a lot of water, some paperwork and a supper wrapped in tin foil.  The anticipation is high as my boys watch me pack up.  It always takes too long, and I get baleful looks and jittery dances in front of the door.

I hook the boys up to the bike and they slowly pull me across the highway.  Once we are on the safety of the path, I let them loose and they immediately pee on everything within a 10’ radius and then take off to explore.

I bike and the boys race up ahead till we get to the aspen stand where the trees are magnificent and the undergrowth is minimal.  I take off the harnesses and lock them and the bike up to a tree.  We pick a random animal path that heads straight south into the bush.

I always feel strung out as we start off our mini journey, and every stumble and branch in my face feels like a punch in the gut.  My soul is definitely not ok.  I wonder why I bother because it’s so much work to come here, but the cabin getting close with each step, tugs at me.  It’s a healing, soothing balm for my raw, wounded spirit.

The bush is wet and slosh through swampy areas, step over fallen trees, and slip on the slick mat of leaves.  Time and time again I’m thankful that I moved to minimalist footwear; my ankles are strong and never give out.

My backpack is heavy with all the provisions for the few hours I will be away from the house.  The load keeps me to a mere trudge, but I know I need the distractions to keep sane.  For most of the time in the bush, I am not able to tolerate the silence and have either music or a podcast playing to fill the quiet void.  Listening to dance music in my golden hued enchanted forest seems wrong, but I try to forgive myself.

After 10 minutes of cutting straight through the bush we make in onto the unkempt trail.  It seems as wide as a highway, but it has holes big enough to swallow up Sweet Sam.  We never know where we will come out along the path, and always get drawn to the west, when it’s eastward that we actually want to go.  I wonder why this is.

It takes another 10 minutes of dodging the holes, and skirting the edges of deep standing water before we reach the cabin.  As I walk into the clearing, it’s like I’ve taken a hit of some marvelous drug.  For the next few hours I’m free.  No hydro.  No phone, no people.  I’m not lazy, and I’m not trying to be a hard worker.  I’m not a complicated mess that can’t find her place.  The bone deep loneliness drops away, the loneliness that makes me want to kill myself.  Out here, it doesn’t matter that I struggle with depression.  The sickening feeling from being alive lifts off my chest and I can breathe.

I open the door and know that I have arrived home.  I set about starting a fire.  They boys snuffle around outside, cataloging every overturned leaf, and every new footprint.  The fire catches and I go out to replenish the kindling that I used, but can’t help but stop to play with Mr. Sam I Am and Hephzibah.

Hephzibah, the staid, serious little man in our household let’s his hair down a bit and permits himself to chase Sam around the clearing.  Sam runs and runs in tight circles, flitting here and there.  I laugh and encourage his silliness.  When I go back in, the fire has died, so I nuture it back to life.  Soon the packet of food is sizzling and the cabin is warming up.

To be continued…

Walking on the wild side, going to make sauerkraut!

I grew up in a home where only “safe” food was eaten.  I’m not sure what the deal was with that. Only fresh, mild cheese was acceptable.  Nothing aged, curdled, anything that wasn’t made of cows milk, or, heaven forbid anything fermented, ever passed our lips.  Sour cream, yogurt, goats cheese, sauerkraut, was regarded as disgusting and wrong.

Well, I’m on a mission to change that in my life.  The “safe” standard American diet has done me and ALL my family so wrong.  The changes that I have made so far are immense, and my physical body has been rewarding me.  My brain hasn’t taken note yet, and is continuing on the depression, anxiety, and trauma path.  However, I am determined to keep trying new things, to see if I can rewire my brain.

This afternoon, I am going to attempt to make sauerkraut.  I’ve heard so many stories of people who take one bite, say it’s not good and vow never to try it again.  The exciting thing is that sauerkraut is so amazingly full of great stuff, that their bodies start to crave it, after ONE bite.  So I’m trusting that will happen for me.  I’m actually looking forward to seeing how this will play out.  This Penner is taking another leap into the wild side!!

Right now, I have Hephzibah under my left arm, Samuel is curled up under my right arm, and we are listening to another talk on The Anxiety Summit by Summer Bock.  She is a Master Fermentationist.  I watched a video of her demonstrating how to make sauerkraut. It’s SO easy, and she loves what she does.  Here’s the link for the video. http://www.summerbock.com/ferment-veggies-at-home/ Not sure if it will work, I got it as a bonus from the summit.  She has a workshop for sale on her website for $28.  I would totally buy it if I had the money.  Here is the link to her website.  http://www.summerbock.com/  She talks about rebuilding the gut, cleansing, and has a free ebook on fermentation.

Makings of SauerkrautHere is what’s needed for sauerkraut.  Salt, cabbage and a jar.  I’m not sure I have the best salt for this.  I’m going to get pure sea salt from the health food store in the future.

Impatient HephzibahHepzee is now sitting and glaring at me.  It’s time to get off the computer and go outside.  It’s winter again today, so out will come the gloves and toque.  Then I will get to the sauerkraut.