As many of you know, we have been in the process of creating a new name for our land and business for quite a while now. We have been searching for something that would capture our shared vision for living on this land for the rest of our lives. Needless to say, it has felt like one of the biggest and most complicated processes we have ever engaged with! While expectations and frustrations of the ego have reared their heads at times, more often it has felt like we have been patiently waiting. It is as if the land herself has been holding a name, waiting for us to discover it.
We thought we had done just that when we landed on Living Earth Sanctuary. However, a series of events in 2015 reminded us that this is not the land’s name. Rather, it was our acknowledgement of her inherent sacred aspect that captivates us to no end. As we learned of many other organizations who had already found their way to a similar name, we realized that we had not captured the unique essence of this place and our relationship to it. Having discovered this, we paused early in 2015, waiting to complete our grant project (whose funding was received through Wild Dahlia Homestead), and listening for the land to sing her song to us.
It did not happen in one romantic moment of clarity and enlightenment. Instead, it was a process that ebbed and flowed as we got to know this land, ourselves, and our vision in a deeper way. And now, with calm eyes, we are thrilled to announce that we have heard the song of the land. Her name will be Ardea.
Ardea is the latin name of a genus of birds commonly referred to as Herons (the picture above is an example of a heron species - our only personal photograph, though there have been many encounters). The Great Blue Heron, in particular, has been a guide to us on this land and beyond. There is no other presence on the earth, be it plant, animal, fungi or stone, that has had such significance in our lives as a couple. And this word – Ardea – speaks to us both.
To us, Ardea is a place on Earth, located in the foothills of the southern Appalachians. Here a red-tailed hawk perches atop a towering white oak on the forest edge, in search of food. Gentle hills roll off from a field, into the forest, carrying white-tailed deer with them. Within the humus of the forest, near the trickling waters of a stream, is where the red salamander sleeps, insulated from the cold. Above is the large s-necked form of a great blue heron heading towards the waters of the pond to fish. In the damp of the forest, large sandy domes mark the homes of crayfish. And from there a vast ecological abundance - magic medicines, sour berries, ancient memories, oily nuts, sweet flowers, fog-laden fields - a dynamic wildness moving in and out of equilibrium.
Since our life’s work is entirely integrated into this place, we will incorporate the name Ardea into our business entity as well. For business purposes we will be Ardea Homestead Sanctuary. The words “homestead sanctuary” convey our intention, as human animals, to exist and meet our needs within the sanctity of nature. We will spend the month of January preparing to step into this new business identity. Look for updates along the way and expect to meet a fresh and cohesive Ardea Homestead Sanctuary in February.
We are absolutely thrilled to be relating to this land, ourselves, and our vision with more clarity, gratitude, and love than ever before. Many thanks to each of you for continuing to support us along this journey. Blessings!