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The ones who take care of us

The study of plants is new for me, but the knowing of their importance is very, very old. It feels like I've lived a thousand lives with the plants as my allies. As a child I was fascinated with plants. I loved to take them apart to see what was inside. It was almost as if every plant was its own little galaxy. Many a flower was sacrificed at the expense of my curiosity and wonder. I think the plants knew of their sacrifice the way a mother sacrifices her body for her children. It was not a "Giving Tree" type sacrifice, but an offering of love so that love may grow into a passion that would meet the world with an offering at some point. Almost 40 years into this life and I am returning to the girlhood curiosity and wonder, honoring the sacrifice of the plants- at last.

It was when the world shut down that the plants met me again. I had always named myself as having a black thumb. I wanted things to grow so much, I would suffocate them in some way. Too much water, not enough sun. Once I even poured salt in my succulent bed to keep the snails at bay, not realizing in the process I would dehydrate my plants into nothingness. It seemed like pipe dream when I decided to grow a vegetable garden, but I was desperate for something that felt like hope and there is nothing that offers more evidence of hope than a newly sprouted seed. So, I dug up the garden bed we had built our kids sandbox in and filled it with the best soil I could find, googled how to start a garden and purchased my first seeds. Soon after the sprouting, we were inundated with pests. It was like everything came out of the woodwork for some fresh veggies. I was stunned at how quickly my little plants were obliterated. I continued to research organic gardening and found some simple natural solutions, none of which worked very well. I almost gave up when the plants' growth was stunted and I dug up the roots to find the most disgusting and happily fattened root maggots eating up all my hard work. I continued on and eventually built a raised bed off the ground and began to have some success growing tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. The daily ritual of checking for bugs and talking to the plants really did keep me sane (even though that may sound a little crazy) during the lockdown of 2020.

A couple of short years later, I stand in a massive garden about 1400 miles east, built by myself and my husband and I walk through the herbs, berries, and veggies still picking off bugs and talking to the plants. I think in some ways they saved me. About the same time we built the garden, my dearest friend offered me the book "Braiding Sweetgrass" by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I immediately fell in love with it and would only read about a chapter a week because I wanted to savor the content, so beautifully expressed. I recently began my path of becoming an herbalist and the first book on the list for my current herbalism program was "Braiding Sweetgrass." It was then I knew it was the right fit. As I reread this profound book, I soaked in the wisdom of the native languages spoken on the land I live on now calling plants, "the ones who take care of us." I know they have taken care of me in more ways than I could have imagined. The plants have met me amidst massive transition and change, carried me through illness and pain, and offered me hope when it felt impossible to find elsewhere. We are currently faced with a difficult decision to leave our garden and home we settled into, those I thought I would grow old with. What I know I can count on is that the plants will meet me where I land, with exactly the medicine needed to support me. I can relax knowing they will take care of me.

As I journey into the world of herbalism, I look forward to sharing the wisdom passed to me in connection and relation to my current nervous system work. If you're interested in purchasing organic herbs, check out Mountain Rose Herbs. They carry a wide variety of organically harvested herbs as well as a variety of essential oils and other materials to support engaging with plants in a meaningful way. Enjoy.

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