Monday, May 4, 2015

Thoughts on Communing with Nature

“Plants will find those that listen…” is what I wrote after stumbling upon a field of wild chamomile with a friend and fellow herbalist this past weekend.

That phrase made me think…do plants really find us? Or, do we find them?

After taking a trail I had prematurely mistaken for one I was more familiar with, I spotted a tiny growth in the middle of the trail; a little beaten down because of placement, and because of that it looked more like pineapple weed (Matricaria discoidea) to me. Then, my friend looked to her left and with great delight saw sporadic patches of wild chamomile.

Matricaria chamomilla. 
Both in awe of the many wild patches, while smelling and touching the beautiful tiny discs of sunshine, started conversing about the role chamomile was currently playing within our herbal practice. 

Before making the decision to harvest some flowers we journeyed further down, what ended up being, a wild chamomile lined trail and soon enough, to an even greater delight, we found an abundant field of wild chamomile!

We harvested a humble amount and went home elated and I with the thought of plants finding us….like magnets; wanting to be tended. We scattered a few seeds but I think just moving amongst them and harvesting their medicine will increase this plant’s population. Chamomile is one of those reliable garden re-seeders too, once it’s established it keeps on thriving.   

And after pondering about the relationship between nature and people, I came to the conclusion that yes, plants can find us!

The stronger a person focuses their energy to a specific plant the stronger the connection can become, but more importantly I think nature seeks out people more now than ever because of the disconnection that has grown over generations. I see this courtship happening within my own neighborhood. Nature found the nature we cultivated in our front yard and now nature is stopping passersby to admire our CA Native and drought tolerant landscape. Time and time again my husband and I observe, with great pride, children stopping first to look at all the flowers and plants and then encouraging their parents to ‘open their eyes’ and look at the pretty plants too. It’s time to reclaim our spaces and cultivate wildness!

Nature finds nature and we are nature.

One of the crafts I have been planning to make for family & friends was a sleep-time elixir.
And now we have an important part of the elixir:
Wild chamomile and wild rose infused raw honey in brandy.  

Favorite 'connecting to nature' resources when not in nature.

Favorite Blogs connecting humans to nature:
Woolgathering & Wildcrafting
Cauldrons & Crockpots
The Indigo Vat - Especially this blog post, which I love: The Embered Eye of the Buck

Few Books connecting humans to nature:
A Sound County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
Walden Pond by Ralph Waldo Emerson
I read the two books above in my Outdoor Biology college course and although I thought they were slow I ended up loving them and they really taught me how to observe nature.
Tending the Wild by M. Kat Anderson