Yes, this is a repost from the EarthSong blog, but I felt it belonged on both spots. Those of you who read both – my apologies, but many read one or the other, and this has a foot in both worlds.
First let me say I can’t believe it’s been over ten days since I posted last – I have three drafts saved and no time to get back to them, but always time to start another. Life is funny that way; at least, I’M funny that way. a burst of inspiration, a few in-spirited lines, and then interruption – delay – loss of impetus.
Well, this morning a lovely synchronicity prompted me to share, even if I really should be working.
As many of my friends and readers know, I have just wrapped up the coursework for my Chartered Herbalist diploma from Dominion College, studying over 200 herbs and learning all kinds of new and useful plants, methods and ways of thinking – and so far, so good. but the big news for me is that all 100% of my final mark is based on the exam – which is coming up soon! So, a big study phase for me, before I get to move on to study with Paul Bergner at the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism (first course already on order). I am well and truly immersed in this study and finding the roots and tendrils of it affecting so many aspects of my daily life. Lately my animal family and partner have been presenting me with minor but important health issues as case studies and I hope they are as grateful for me as I am to them for the opportunity and trust.
But, reading Michael Moore and Kiva Rose and others I follow in the warmer climates, sometimes I feel deprived – no Larrea, for example, growing wild around here. While I am no fan of hot weather, humid OR dry, I occasionally feel the wonderful and exotic plant species “down there” might be worth enduring the heat if only for a year or two of study. And then, I get these epiphanies.
This morning I stood watching the black capped chickadees, bright eyed little spirits of good cheer that they are, flitting anxiously around the place on our trembling aspen where the feeder usually is…we had taken it in last night due to the strong winds. The snow is about a foot out back and the wee birds very concerned about the bare branch, and too much snow for them to grab any fallen seeds. the suet holders are totally monopolized by Hairy Woodpeckers; the goldfinches amuse and nourish themselves on standing stalks of sunflower, nettle, coneflower. The Grosbeaks all bet a hasty retreat the second a feeder is empty; only the black caps remain here; flying up to the house and peering in as if to say, “Wassup? You ok? Where’s our breakfast?”. Or so, I imagine it anyway.:)
So trundling out in a bathrobe much too large for me and Alex’s enormous snowboots, I brought the feeder out to the aspen, and the birds. And standing there – looking no doubt like an Abominable SnowWoman – I just drank it in…LOOK at my property, my “too small, ordinary” bit of the Gatineau. While it is true I can’t wait to find out permanent home and land, THIS is where I am right now, this moment, this sacred, wondrous moment. And look at it! Starting in the East, with the aspen, I took inventory; balsam poplars, Eastern white cedar, chokecherry, Elder, several types of Willow, the magnificent White Oak out front; my darling White Pine, a balsam fir, white spruce, American elm, an apple tree (two) the little hawthorn, not to mention the mullein, plantain, self heal, eyebright, newly transplanted comfrey and glorious stands of stinging nettle that dot the property. And that’s just this plot of land! Walk across the street and start following the twisting little stream that winds from Lac Mahon around the western border of our house and down to the Gatineau, widening and rushing through all kinds of enchanted woodland as it goes…. the plant species are varied and plentiful. Agrimony, Gravelroot, Wild carrot, Bethroot, Violets galore – on and on. I stood looking areund me and thought…nope, the magic in my soul and the healing I require is ALL RIGHT HERE.
There is nothing “ordinary” in these ancient hills, in the trembling aspen, the black capped chickadees, the snowy silence. I took my coffee and headed to open my first and much anticipated issue of the Plant healer magazine and what did I see first but this:
TOO MUCH EMPHASIS IS PLACED ON THE EXOTIC. MOST OF THE MEDICINE WE NEED IS NATIVE, FLOURISHES IN OUR YARDS AND LOTS,GROWS AT OUR VERY FEET…AND MANY OF THE WONDERS OF THE WORLD ARE ALWAYS WITHIN SIGHT.”
Jesse Wolf Hardin, writing in the Plant Healer Ezine
So, a little confirmation from far, far away…perhaps even a synchronicity, but call it what you will, the resonance was strong and true. we are all in places of beauty, healing and magic and the big mistake is to take for granted, to not look deeper because we think we already know a thing simply because it is familiar.
Knowing is a lifetime of intimacy, study and communion. While I *know* the names and uses of many of these local plant beings, there was always a dimension I failed to comprehend, JUST LIKE people who are not “animal oriented fail to see deeply into the sacred consciousness of other species. I was learning plants by rote, by use. There is so very much more.
Behind the delicate tenacity of chickweed, the sweet, steady reassurance of white pine and the thrusting,”PAY ATTENTION!” insistence of mullein, there is spirit. And these three have been my first real teachers of this level, even as so many humans have taught me the names, affinities and usefulness of them all.
Oh, how blessed to be midway through life’s journey and find a door open to a whole new way of seeing, knowing, moving beyond.