Letter from America 1/5

As I mentioned, I’m now in Washington State visiting my parents, friends and relatives. Will you get “home” to family this summer? I hope so! My home county is up in the Northwest corner of the state but my parents now live nearer to where I was born, in the southwestern most corner of the state – about 7 hours drive away!

I thought of you as I traversed the state, especially after crossing over the North Cascade mountains and dropping down into valleys of orchards in Cashmere and Wenatchee, Washington. Always, of course, thinking about your hydration, your health and what I can share to encourage you.

As the clouds come off the Pacific Ocean, they hit the Rocky mountains and drop their load so western Washington (and Oregon) are very green, wet and lush – much like England. However, on the other side of the mountains, it’s dry and the weather is extreme – HOT in the summer and COLD (snowy) in the winter.

As I pulled into the drive on Weds. evening to meet my sister who’d come out to the road to see us, she and her daughter pointed to the live coiled snake gathered up in the driveway. They thought it was a rattler, as one had been killed found amongst the raspberries that morning, so I did what was best to protect us all…and ran over it. Even though I was in the car and totally safe, it still felt scary and very exciting. Rattlers are no joke. My sister has been staying with pear orchardists whose place is right up against the bone dry eastern Washington hills and guess who loves those conditions? Rattle snakes.


People often make fun of me when I smack the spiders and bugs at Milestone but when you grow up in a country with deadly black widows and brown recluse spiders, rattlers and bob cats, you learn instinctively how to protect that which you treasure – taking an offensive position toward potential attackers.

As we think of our blood and cells, tissues and organs, they are our orchards of life – the gardens we cultivate, the place in which our souls and spirits dwell. When we eat well, keep hydrated and nourished, sleep sufficiently and fellowship with one another, the attackers keep at bay – they don’t like healthy conditions. But when we make friends of toxins, develop bad habits of sleep deprivation and keeping negative company, we take great risks in regularly exposing ourselves to disease and ill health, the attackers and destroyers of body and soul. It’s one thing to occasionally meet an acquaintance, it’s another thing to regularly meet up with a friend.

So, what foods and drinks are your friends? Which are your acquaintances? Do a little review of what you’ve been eating and ask yourself the question: friend or foe? (Foes are sugar, alcohol and caffeine – for starters.) Friends are fresh and raw organic produce, raw/soaked seeds, nuts and legumes, seed-like grains, healthy Omega-rich fats, plant-based proteins and milks.

The Orchardists have made friends with the birds. And Ospreys eat rattle snakes.

Atop a nearby light pole, the pear orchard has a resident osprey family with a huge nest. We were fascinated to observe these great birds of prey carrying food in their claws to the nest for their young. The lady of the house (a great bird watcher) told us about the noise the young make when their parents kick them out of the nest to learn to fly (It reminds me of waking up my teenagers!) and reported seeing them take snakes up to the nest for their young.

Helena Cavan