Harvesting Motherwort from the Weed Garden this morning, I grinned like a little kid as I snipped each fibrous stalk and added the feathery green beings to my basket. It’s so simple and maybe even a little silly but this is what I’ve wanted to do my whole life. Not just working as a healer, or even just working with plants. But specifically, working with local, dooryard herbs and wild woodland roots in a relationship so secure and so profound that I literally know these beings with my eyes closed. By scent, touch and even sound I recognize these complex and vibrant tribes that people the Canyon.
To a degree, I can do the same thing with bags of dried herbs from Eastern Europe and China, or tinctures made from dried percolated plants from New York City. Yes, I can often identify them as Astragalus or Schizandra, but I don’t know them as people. I know them as acquaintances or one night stands that have most likely enriched my life but not become my intimates in the lasting way of soulmates, best friends or children.
I love sharing home with the plants, cycling through the seasons with them and noting the changes in both me and them, and all the ways we change together. As I unmethodically chopped Cherry twigs the other day I was overwhelmed by the almondy smell common to the bark, but I also noticed the peculiarities of our particular Cherry trees. The rich, nearly spicy scent unique to this tree in this place in this bioregion.
This community of plants is the only one who have ever spoken so loudly and clearly to me, either as a group or as individuals, and I have an intense bond and commitment to them for as long as I may live. To protect them in whatever way I am able, to love them always and to listen very, very intently.