Winter Reflections
Friday, December 9, 2016 at 01:22PM
Heather Spangler, L.Ac. in Bill Coperthwaite, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Dickinson's Reach, Downeast, Goals, Inspiration, Inspiration, Joe Hollis, Maine, Mountain Gardens, Yurts, brunswick

One of my favorite things to do at the start of each month is to turn over the calendar* that celebrates the life and vision of Maine native, Bill Coperthwaite, sometimes known as the Yurt Man.

I met Bill long before I knew I wanted to be an acupuncturist, and later had the good fortune to hike out to his Downeast waterfront property with a good friend one golden Autumn afternoon. We spent a couple of hours together in amiable conversation encompassing ideas, design, travel and conscientious living. Bill died the following year, and it feels a blessing to have had that time with him.

During acupuncture school, I felt similarly inspired by one of my teachers of herbal medicine, Joe Hollis. Joe personifies the Daoist tenet of living amidst nature, and his commitment to the knowledge and cultivation of Chinese medicinal herbs in this country is a testament to their healing potential. His gardens** amidst a sufficiently rugged mountain landscape make for a memorable visit.

Both men are inspirations to me, and it probably should not have come as a surprise for me to learn that they were in fact friends of one another. Examples of Bill's yurt designs sit on both properties, and the land on which these yurts sit both possess a stillness that comes from being loved and serving a special purpose.

The friendship of these two men also seemed a personal validation of my love of Maine and my calling to help people with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

As we look at the weeks and months of winter that span before us, we are presented with an opportunity to ask ourselves, what inspires us?

Maybe this source of inspiration will come from a book, a movie or even picking up the phone and reaching out to a friend whom we may not have talked to in a while. Maybe this time of investigation can even plant a seed for a plan in warmer weather to make a journey that fills our heart.

Such time for reflection is the gift of a New England winter, and I wish you joy and revelation in yours.

*For more information about Bill Coperthwaite, as well as how to order the calendar honoring his life and work, click here:

**For more information about Joe Hollis and his work in the mountains of North Carolina, click here:

(Photos courtesy of ; and


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