People of Santa Cruz: Perry Hernandez

My name is Perry Hernandez.

Do you remember your dreams?

My dreams? Heh-heh-heh… I think the easiest one to start with is the ones I’m having while I’m sleeping. I’d say it’s more like colors and shapes. Sometimes, it’s the I’m falling dreams, sometimes I have a little more control, more lucid dreams.

I find after I wake there’s still some regret—regret that I didn’t take more advantage and there were some arbitrary parameters. I can only fly so high, or I can only fly as far as I can exert myself. It’s a thing I’ve been able to do on and off for many years. It kind of happens when I’m very tired, and I’m drifting in and out, and I’m trying to sleep. I’m kind of aware, so there’s like this meta-awareness already that sleep just happened or I was just dreaming. I think of it as like feathering myself into sleep, and I say I have control over this domain at this point.

You know, after Covid, my goals in life are a little more short-term. I’ve put things more into perspective. My goals are to keep my eyes on the road and not the horizon, to steer into the turns a little bit better, and maybe not to feel that I have control over what’s over the horizon, and just kind of go for the ride.

What’s the most important work you are doing?

My work is to harvest more joy out of each month. I deal with a lot of chronic pain. The best part of the work I’m doing is engaging with others. I get a lot of vicarious joy. I use humor.

The biggest challenge is perspective, is to not take hardships of the day and project them into the future. Doom and gloom. And this is as we are pulling out of Covid. To not think that this is going to last forever. Keep perspective in mind. Time moves forward and with that there is opportunity for change.

What is your current opinion of Santa Cruz?

That we are at the precipice of big change. Especially downtown—I’ve been a downtown resident since ’97. I see a lot of housing developments going on down the street, and I’m really excited about that. Cautiously optimistic. I’m hoping that we get ore small businesses that can support the needs of folks that maybe don’t have cars and therefore it become even more functional than it is already.

Maybe that’s naïve, but I’m probably a minority in that I’m optimistic and that things are going to get better. We’ll have more options, more variety. Stores may stay open later, who knows?

Akasha Apothecary Artistry

Connecting Community through Herbs

We met at a local creek for the first content shoot for our new collaboration. Alissa chose the spot, and I met her there to film some clips and to make some photographs. The rain this year has made creeks flow with a force rarely seen in this region. As we found some spots along this tributary, the ground could barely contain the water. This energy is matched by Alissa who is bursting with positivity for her new direction.

It makes sense to find strength through a connection to our local natural world, but it is easier said than done. It takes someone like Alissa Maya of Akasha Apothecary to create an intentional path to that crucial local alliance of people, plants, and the environment. Due to the mania of global markets, we consume things from all around the globe in a mostly haphazard manner. Akasha deliberately sources their herbs from hand selected local farms.

Bottled water, boxed foods, prescribed medications: these things have no connection to the physical world surrounding us. Locally grown and produced herbal remedies actively work to supply us with this crucial element of place. In this disconnected world, a practice of making connections matters and nobody is doing more to make this a reality than Akasha Apothecary.

I’ve been working with Alissa of Akasha since the beginning of her business ventures, and I have seen her growth and evolution. Two things that remain the same are also key ingredients to her amazing herbal remedies: community and a connection to place. She cultivates both through her work and makes a positive path for others to follow.

Sensual Herbalism and Healing

Alissa believes in an intuitive approach to working with herbs. There is an artistry to her practice as an apothecary. In order to make the best products, the raw ingredients must be the highest quality. She believes that this can only be done by visiting and working at the farms. When we walk on the ground where the herbs are grown, we know more about their quality than if we do not.

This is similar to how many of the best restaurants in California feel about food. It all comes down to the ingredients and being able to source the best local raw materials. To further this end, Alissa has created connections to two key local farms that will be growing the herbs for her coming ventures.

We are currently working on launching the next phase of her business. In the coming months, you can learn more about how Akasha plans to make local herbs and locally produced tonics and salves a larger part of our reality. Follow @akashaapothecary on Instagram to stay in touch, to see how you can support, and to be the first to take advantage of this new offering.

Portraiture of Character

Erin by the water

Portraits are powerful because they show us a glimpse into the character of a person.

There is something magical about the simplicity of an image of a person’s face.

The goal of portraits is to show something true about a person. It is a way of adding to the human story.