Jun 232013
 

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It may be hot indeed down in the middle mountains and deserts of the Southwest, but head up a few thousand feet and the subalpine forests are cool and lush with the verdancy of the Summer Solstice. This past week Wolf and I took a much needed break to explore the cienegas of the Little Colorado river in the White Mountains just above our canyon home.

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The Little Colorado River

The Little Colorado River

Wading through the cool currents of the river, we stopped to examine almost every little flower and leaf underside. Surrounded by Alder thickets and rambling briar patches, the sunlight fell on us in dappled patches through the trees. The scent of Wild Roses made the air sweet and heady, giving an even more enchanted feeling to an already fairy tale like walk.

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The river banks were fertile and green, wildflowers and broad leafed trees on one side, and ferns, conifers, and fungi on the other. I admit to a lifelong fascination with ferns, from unfurling fiddlehead to rusty spores, everything about them draws me in and has me trying to get closer to the ground so I can see them better.

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There are so many more details, so many incredible colors and textures in the close up. I can’t help but be mesmerized by the beauty that’s all around me. The delicate lavender and deep crimson of this frond had me all agape with amazement.

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Twinberry, Lonicera involucrata

Twinberry, Lonicera involucrata

All around us, insects hummed , traveling from flower to flower, sometimes looking a bit drunk on the sweet nectar of so many blossoms open all at once. I ran from bush to tree to herb, exclaiming under my breath and trying to key things out in my field guide while looking at six flowers at once!

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Monkshood, Aconitum columbianum

Monkshood, Aconitum columbianum

I was particularly excited to see dozens upon dozens of this plant in flower. Monkshood is one of my absolute favorite wildflowers. Both medicinal and poisonous, it’s also incredibly gorgeous with it’s deep blue to purple flowers and finely waxed leaves. I don’t see it terribly often in many of the mountain meadows I visit, and I was ecstatic to find so many here. I think I took nearly a hundred photographs of just this one species!

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Wild Onion, Allium geyeri, inflorescence

Wild Onion, Allium geyeri, inflorescence

In fat patches on the riverbank I found an incredible wealth of one of our local Wild Onion species, which, besides being absolutely delicious, is also drop dead gorgeous. Like the ferns, getting closeup allows us to see the detail and nuance of the inflorescence just getting ready to open into many small flowers. I would very much like a gown made of this color and texture, perfect for a Faery ball on a Summer’s night!

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Campsite in the White Mountains of Arizona

Campsite in the White Mountains of Arizona

At the end of the day, Wolf and I made camp on a canyon rim that wound far above the Little Colorado River. From there, we watched the sun sink into the Western sky, and light the Ponderosas and Douglas Firs up in a radiant golden light. Redroot flowers glowed ghostly white in the shadows and the shiver of Aspen leaves brought the evening in with their elven song.

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©Jesse Wolf Hardin

©Jesse Wolf Hardin

We returned to the canyon next morning full of inspirations and ideas after a long conversation on the drive home. Wolf set to work creating this gorgeous logo for my new little shop of botanical creations, The Bramble & The Rose, where I’m selling my bioregional incense and botanical perfumes.

Wolf and I also discussed some very important upcoming news that we’ll soon be sharing about the Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous!

~Also, a quick reminder for all our Plant Healer writers, the deadline is July 1st for the Autumn issue, so be sure to send in your submissions soon!~

 

 

  4 Responses to “What the Forest Holds: A Solstice Story in Pictures”

  1. That was a joy to read, and your pictures are gorgeous! I really can imagine a gown made of that Wild Onion quality you captured. :-)

  2. Enchantress extraordinaire, making magic with your every creation. Be it potions, lotions & perfumes, elixirs or tricky, witchy seductions & concoctions, wild-crafted gourmet delights or lyrical river canyon forest flower herbal mountain musings, you hold us enthralled in your spell, you impish elf!!

  3. What a lovely get away to a sane part of the world. Have you heard what the crazies are doing to the world we depend on for our life?

    Glad to see your choices for spending time have been far less anti-human than those with a different outlook and appreciation of the planet.

  4. Damn girl! You sure have been taking some sexy plant pictures of late.

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