And like an attentive lover, we lean closer and closer to that which we adore, learn from, give to and depend upon. In the course of such courting and knowing we may find ourselves bending ever lower, in order to see better the psychedelic patterns of river water coursing over our legs, or the complex arrangement of the pine needles and green acorns blanketing the forest floor– and then getting down on one knee to luxuriate in the many smells of wild mountain flowers. We may then ease onto our bellies to see the world the way one of the myriad canyon insects do, as infinitely immense and thoroughly irresistible. At the end of our walk, at the end of the day, we might find ourselves rolling onto our backs– right there in the middle of the feral Gila wildlands, in the center of the enchanted canyon, on a soft sandbar in the center of the San Francisco river, centered in our feelings of sensuousness, connectedness and caring. It’s then, grounded in this spinning globe of rock and flesh, we can feel most comfortable shifting our gaze for awhile…. from the living Earth we’re each an inseparable extension of, upwards to the fecund cosmos we and this planet lie forever bedded with and in.
-Jesse Wolf Hardin, from Home
Since I was a child I have loved all things wild.… I was always stumped by the widespread appeal of florist shop flowers and domestic vegetables. Why have these pale shadows, when we could be feasting eyes and mouths on sweetbriar and mulberry, dandelion and violet? Always creeping to the edge of the lawn, I was most fascinated with the lush plantain and fairy touched yarrow that lived there, the smells deeper and stranger than the greenest grass or carefully cultivated tulips. I begged my mom to give up mowing and let us grow sage and clover for a lawn instead, and refused to pull weeds from the garden.
Now I live in one of the wildest places left in North America, a large chunk of New Mexico called the Gila, where bald eagles and great blue herons are frequently seen just outside my cabin window, and lion tracks are found in the woods just beyond the clearing. The plants here are fierce, almost ferocious in their display of wildness, spikes of banana yucca, barbed Parry’s agave and the prickly canes of cholla cactus line the paths here. Our fruit is the spine laden flesh of prickly pears and small sour berries of wild sumach. And my greatest pleasure is still all about getting down on my hands and knees to see it all close up, the microcosm of irrepressible life.
This land is my lover, and I love her well. The river winding through this narrow canyon beats against the bank with my pulse and the flowers glitter with my tears. Likewise, my skin is volcanic rock and snapdragon vine, my fingers rose thorns and vine tendrils.
I work and play with the plants here, for healing and vision and solace and sanity. I’m an herbalist and Medicine Woman, I’m a poet and dancer… I’m a girl in a fairytale, I’m as tangled and wild as the roses.
This blog is all about the wild plants, but it’s also about deep ecology and bio-regionalism, about healing and bliss and life.