Living in the North
I live in a rural community Northwest of Thunder Bay known as Lappe. Nestled near Lake Superior with abundant wild forests, fresh lakes and meandering rivers, Lappe has been the perfect place to call home. As some local Laplander folks like to say, “#happyinLappe.” Experiencing each unique season in the north has brought with it many simple pleasures: listening to chickadees sing their namesake chickadee-dee-dee call on a cold winter’s day; walking through the forest as the fragrant buds of balsam poplar begin to open and fill the air with their distinctive sweet smell, heralding that spring has finally arrived; tasting delicious blueberries and perhaps a few blackflies while out wild harvesting under the late summer sun; and driving down the northern highways in autumn as the forests of sugar maple, trembling aspen, tamarack and white birch prepare for yet another winter and set the forest ablaze with colour.
While living close to the land, one comes to understand their interconnection with the natural environment. We need each other to survive – the bees, the sturgeon, the tall standing spruce, even the blackflies all have a purpose in the great web of life. Confronted by what is occurring in the world today – mass deforestation, contamination of fresh water and air, endangered species of plants and animals – all of us have a responsibility to take actions to protect our earth and all our relations for future generations. Inspired by traditional boreal ecological and cultural knowledge, I’ve sought to learn about the medicinal plants of the boreal forest.
During my twenties, I worked for many years as a tree planter in remote bush camps throughout Northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. In the forest - under the blazing summer sun, bug bitten and covered in dirt - I felt totally alive. Naturally, I felt called to live in the bush during the rest of the year and learn from the land. I moved to Lappe in 2010 and began to dig more deeply into learning about medicinal plants of the boreal forest. After making herbal infused salves and teas as gifts for friends and family over the years, I was encouraged to sell my boreal forest goods in local markets.
And so began BOREAL BODY. The name was inspired by a value rooted deep within me that we are intimately connected with the earth. We belong to the earth and we need to care for this beautiful place we call home. It is my sincere hope that these boreal forest plant medicines bring healing and inspire people to care for themselves and our earth.
At BOREAL BODY, I make skin care products with local wild botanicals. These plants are ethically harvested from the boreal forest region of Northwestern Ontario. These plants include: balsam poplar, balsam fir, eastern white cedar, white birch and black spruce. Every plant has their ideal season and time of day from which to harvest. Boreal forest plants are carefully blended in small batches with high quality, food-grade ingredients. BOREAL BODY’s holistic skin care line currently includes tree-infused salves, balms and bath salts.
I offer this collection of wildcrafted skincare goods to you with the hopes that it will inspire you to feel connected with the wildness of the boreal forest and recognize your wildness within. May the plant medicines bring you healing and help you to feel rooted in the earth, standing strong in your power like the trees of the forest and realizing your interconnection with the web of life. May you feel the pure pleasure of being alive. Every plant has unique teachings and songs to sing, stories of why they came to earth.
What is your song, your story?
If you are interested in BOREAL BODY workshops, please reach out to us on the CONTACT US page.