It was 20 years ago when I started taking Tai Chi from Mark Tolstrup, who at the time was in Glens Falls, teaching Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and seasonal meditation going back to the ancient Taoist teachings. I was on our jersey cow farm and becoming more scattered and distracted each day, something I still suffer from to this day.
On the farm, my husband Dick and I never got vacations and we worked every day and I think perhaps after 24 years, we needed one.
I started the Tai Chi classes and instantly noticed a connection to the ground in my feet. For the first time in my life, I started to feel roots to the earth. The Tai Chi classes did so much to help me to calm and ground myself and be able to focus on the things that I have to do. But they also helped me connect to the earth in a new way. I have always loved nature and being outdoors, and I was outdoors every day on the farm, in the warm months bringing the cows to the pasture.
I would delight in the morning sun and dew and the sounds of the cows as they awoke and headed to the barn to be milked. I also loved the sky as I headed off to feed the calves and the young stock and brought the cows back to the field in the evening. Seeing the clouds billowing high above me and the shadows of sunset on the fields in the golden light was something I remember to this day.
Anyway, I took classes from Mark for as long as he was in Glens Falls and then he moved to the Tai Chi Center on Phila Street in Saratoga. This was an hour ride for me, and I still continued to take classes for many years until my schedule got overly filled and I no longer wanted to make that trip.
I do, however, continue to practice Tai Chi and the Qi Gong exercises, and especially love doing them up on the hill behind my house where there is a flat area where I can look out over the valleys and farms below me and off into the Adirondack Mountains.
The connection to the earth for me is something that spilled over into my art, and I have done many batik showing the below ground energy, which I can feel now beneath my feet. Some of those batiks are Moonlight Over Spring, Vegetables After the Thunderstorm, Green Horse Rises From the Earth and Merges with the Wind and many vegetable garden batik you see below with the magic energy from the earth showing as beautiful particles interwoven with the roots of carrots and beets.