In the Burned Forest: A Walk Through the Mist

In the Burned Forest: A Walk Through the Mist
Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

In the more lightly burned areas of the forests just above us in the White Mountains of Arizona, the Fireweed is blooming in colorful profusion between the blackened spikes of destroyed trees. This beautiful member of the Onagraceae family is also one of my favorite herbs, being especially talented at reducing inflammation, astringing lax tissue, and encouraging healing, especially in the gut. This makes it a rather ideal addition to gut healing infusions, especially if a food intolerance or other trigger has been recently removed.

Rhiannon gathering Wild Raspberries, Rubus idaeus var. strigosus

Rhiannon gathering Wild Raspberries, Rubus idaeus var. strigosus

Rhiannon declared this bit of mountainside a piece of her personal heaven, and danced through the mist and ferns for a while before settling into harvesting just ripening Raspberries. She particularly enjoys the not quite red fruits, relishing their tartness, and often dissecting them into little jewel shaped fragments before eating them up.

 

A patch of Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

A patch of Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

There’s something haunting about the the spectral mists that can shift and swirl through the mountains during monsoon season in the Southwest. I could stand in the midst of the young Aspens and stare into the distance for hours, listening to small animals move amongst the underbrush and ravens obscured in the mist call from just beyond the veil.

 

P1020555

Fungi of many sorts were just beginning to fruit from dead wood, and I look forward to returning soon in search of my favorite edible and medicinal mushrooms.

Black River - Ligusticum porteri flowers9s

Oshá, Ligusticum porteri, was blooming at the edge of the Aspen stands, their fern like leaves drooping under the weight of a recent rain. Since I still have plenty of Oshá from previous harvests, and none of the patches I found were very large, I left them to continue to grow and spread on the mountainside.

 

P1020580

Several times we spotted deer in the forest, usually nibbling  specifically on burned Ponderosa twigs… perhaps they enjoy the smoky flavor?!

Elderflowers blooming in a meadow

Elderflowers blooming in a meadow

At the edge of a large meadow, hedges of Elders grew, and a few had already (for this elevation) burst into bloom, their creamy umbels tossing back and forth in every small breeze. As much as I love working with herbs for healing purposes, I am often reminded on these forays of how the deeper medicine is actually in spending time with the plants, in restoring connection between myself and the land, and in simply being aware of the beauty, complexity, and power of place. No tincture can replace that, and no harvest can achieve it without attention, presence, and a fierce love for the wild ways of the plants.

 

Elderflowers

Elderflowers

8 Comments

  1. Marlaina Donato
    Jul 24, 2013

    relishing your herbal knowledge & connection with the biological-mystical-artistic. Blessings, Kiva Rose.

  2. Karen
    Jul 24, 2013

    Eloquent expressions & beautiful photos. Thanks for thé delicious feasts of your writing & photography, Kiva.

  3. Deborah Wallin
    Jul 25, 2013

    Kiva, your devotion to wild places is infused in your beautiful writing. I love to read about and envision the plants, the wild creatures that inhabit your world. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Linda Page
    Jul 25, 2013

    I loved reading this…I have been spending more time in Nature lately as well as getting back to harvesting medicinal plants…You are so right in saying that the time spent with the plants in their natural environment is just as important….as well as sacred & honoring as the harvest of these wonderful plants…….Thanks for sharing this…<3

  5. xxiamenking
    Jul 25, 2013

    I love to see this place personally and experience the nature. Its really advantage to free ourselves and take time to inhale and exhale in this very beautiful place without any pollution. I’m happy to read your blog!

  6. Phoebe
    Jul 26, 2013

    Thank you for posting this, Kiva. I’ve come full circle to a time in my life where I need to return to the deeper medicine of spending time with the plants and the power of place—the original “simple” that no tincture can replace.

    I so enjoyed hearing of Rhiannon and the raspberries. I couldn’t help but think of all the children out there, crunching on those mass produced, “artificial everything,” sweet & tart candies. And there she is—in the mist of the re-birthing forest, quietly reveling in the real thing—dancing in the ferns with raspberry cabochons dancing on her tongue.

    It gives me strength.

  7. laura
    Jul 26, 2013

    You have a wonderful way with your words and photos. They are comforting and touching. Reading your comments on these today and viewing the pictures, I can easily drop in to the place of peace and connection with nature and her energies.

    Thank you.

  8. Connie Kirkpatrick
    Jul 29, 2013

    Alrighty, I am ready to pack it in and move. I do not get all those wonders living in the high chaparral of Southern California. I keep waiting for the elders to fruit, that has not happened since I have lived in the hills of the southern most tip of California. The bloom every year, but no fruit. The bees and butterflies, humming birds are not as plentiful as they use to be.

    I pray and send Reiki to each plant that one year we will have the wonderful fruit.

    Thank you for sharing your visit in the forest.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>