Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Passing of a Great Teacher

"The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, the great teacher inspires."  -  William Arthur Ward
Throughout one's life, if they are lucky, they will cross paths with many teachers - many mediocre, some good, and if truly lucky, some who are indeed great!  Cascade Anderson Geller, who passed away on May 4th, 2013, was absolutely in the Super Great category.  She WAS Herbalism.  Although she had been working with and teaching about herbs long before I met her, nearly three decades ago, even then, she had a quality and a wisdom that pulled you in.  You wanted to know what she knew. You might have even wanted to be like her.  
 
Like many hundreds of others, my first foray into the world of herbs was with Cascade, taking a basic class.  I still remember one of the first nights, when a friend and fellow student, Joel, had a sore throat, and she demonstrated wrapping the throat with a cloth coated in a ginger powder paste, and the look he had as it heated up. 
 
Some of us, from that first class, later started, under Cascade's direction, the Herbalists of the Pacific States (H.O.P.S) where we would meet regularly to study herbs and present our findings to each other.  We put together presentations and gatherings, and many of us would regularly attend the Breitenbush Herbal Gathering each summer.  Gradually, that group dissolved, and I moved in other directions, although always keeping herbs close to my heart.  Often, over the last 20 plus years, I have thought to myself, I should (or I could) contact Cascade.  We live on 7 acres, filled with flowers and many weeds, and she would be my first thought when I wondered what plant was popping up here or there.   So, she inspired. She inspired me, and easily thousands of others over the years. But it was a quiet inspiration. The kind of inspiration that truly makes you want to go deeper, to learn, to experience, to love. 
 
Cascade, Thank you!  You were truly a blessing to my life and to so many others. You will be loved forever.
 

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