I’ve always loved traveling and once upon a time, considered myself a lifelong nomad. I’ve lived all over the country and visited just about everywhere in th mainland US. So I thought a little journey to the Black Hills for a symposium in Deadwood, SD would be alright. And there’s always the plus of meeting a a few new plant friends along the way….
We drove up through Santa Fe to Denver and on to Cheyenne and finally into South Dakota. There were lovely plants along the way, lots of Artemisia species, Docks, Dandelions, Birches, Roses and Aspens. They were all quite beautiful in their own right, as were the remarkable landscapes we passed through, especially the glittering stones and towering pines of the southern Black Hills. I loved the little town of Hot Springs, where the river is warm year round and waterfalls pour from red rock walls. Yet I found myself focusing on plants and landscapes that reminded me of home…. searching for yet another variation of Mugwort or Wild Rose, all while feeling the pull of the canyon in the soles of my feet and the palms of my hand, and in my heart and gut. Who needs a compass or map when your body is that sure of the direction of home?
The most exciting part of the trip was finding Pulsatilla blooming near Estes Park, CO on the way home… I’d been looking for it during the whole journey and was disappointed to learn that they wouldn’t be blooming until next week in SD. I was pleasantly surprised then, to discover a meadow covered in silky haired purple and yellow flowers. Wolf took gorgeous pictures that I’ll post soon and I was able to gather enough for a bit of tincture as well! I’m very excited to get to know this ephemeral but powerful plant.
Arriving home today on the brink of a dramatic thunderstorm was possibly one of the best moments of my life. It felt like I’d been trying to breathe with only half of my lung capacity for the last week… The canyon is singing her nightly lullaby of frog song, owl cries and river babble now and I’m so intensely grateful to have found such a partner and mate in this place, this land that reaches out to hold me under starry skies.
Though I’m teaching a workshop in Albuquerque this weekend, I don’t think I’ll be roaming very far from home for a long time to come…