Walking Barefoot Through the Nettle Patch
I don’t know if I’d recommend it, but it was kind of fun…. It all started with Rhiannon’s birthday walk and the fact that I’d left my shoes at the bottom of the path below the mesa we live on. And the huge storm the night before that had washed away said shoes. I like going barefoot, it helps me feel my connection with the ground and plants more intensely and so I often traipse barefoot through the canyon. But this is the time of year when the stickers are reproducing like manic bunnies and you can’t see the ground through the Sunflowers anyhow. So I was hoping to have my trusty green chaco sandals to make the trek downriver. I managed to find one sandal lodged in a rain-tangled mat of Nettles and Four O’Clocks, but just couldn’t find the second one.
Since there was no point in limping downriver in a single shoe, I proceeded barefoot. Through the Nettles and Willows we went, Rhiannon holding a large sprig of Mugwort in front of her like a beacon (in case she got stung, she would chew up a wad of Mugwort and spit it on the stung area and be helped nearly immediately). I was very careful, dancing around the baby Nettles coming up through the rotting leaves, and bending at funny angles to avoid being sideswiped by the tall swaying seeded Nettles. Nevertheless, by the time I got to the other side of the Nettle patch, my feet were quite tingly and Rhiannon, even in river slippers, had howled at least once at the indignance of being stung.
The upshot was that I’d gathered lots of Nettle seeds in the slow walk to the other side. Rhiannon helped, also barehanded. We could be crazy, but we both hate the hand suffocation of gloves for plant work (they’re very lovely for using a shovel or a chainsaw but not so good for working with living beings IMHO). We also managed to gather the most gorgeous Evening Primrose flowers from the midst of a huge Wild Rose bramble. We even swam the large muddy river together, me with a tight grip on the little Otter’s hand! We had the loveliest ramble through the Sunflowers, Mugwort, Yarrow and Sage.
We did take the path home AROUND the Nettle patch though. My fingers are toes are still tingly.