Monday, April 30, 2012

Dandelions, Violets and Wild Strawberries

I sat in the field amongst tiny, wild strawberry blossoms, white and purple violets, and thick, bright dandelions, although some had already wilted with their heads bowed down close to the earth. There was enough of a breeze to keep the black flies away. It wasn’t as cold as it had been for the past week or so; the sun felt good. It was one of those days that I couldn’t decide whether I needed a sweater or not.

It was refreshing to see and hear the bees again. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until they reminded me with their industrious ways, buzzing away passionately on fragrant blooms, especially the forsythia. It was as if they were saying, “Wake up!”

I considered each leaf and blossom harvested; aware of the way the sunlight illuminated particular essential aspects of what I held in my hands. I was sure to make good progress and I comprehend the significance of really doing whatever it is I am doing by being fully present.

Even somewhat dull chores will mean so much more if while actively involved you simply do it, not drift in and out of random thoughts. It doesn’t seem like it would make a difference, but it does. If you’re doing the dishes, do the dishes. If you’re sweeping the floor, sweep the floor. Be engaged in what you are doing. Pay attention to even the little things and new meaning emerges. Oh, and being mindful requires practice for dreamers (like me).

After filling my basket with a good amount of nature’s merries, I went over to the quiet, rust colored pond. Tadpoles darted away in all directions, hiding beneath rocks and underwater foliage. The low water level was startling. It seems more like late August than April. I hope that the expected rain will quench the earth. For some reason, seeing so much of the big rock exposed in the middle of the pond made me feel somewhat gloomy. Nothing was going according to plan. I struggled a bit before embracing the beauty in this and by letting go of fear that wants to be my constant companion.

In response to my concerns, I have discovered that wildcrafting deepens my connection to the earth and brings about a higher purpose in me. I want to share what I know. I want others to comprehend the astounding beauty and benefits of all that grows abundantly around us.

Last week when I was buying a tool for harvesting dandelions, the man at the hardware store told me about how he has such a gorgeous lawn with one annoying dandelion that continues to grow in the same spot over and over again. How unfortunate to be at war with a dandelion. He listed the various poisons that he sprays on it, yet it just won’t go away (a warrior, indeed).

I smiled and told him that I love dandelions and grow them on purpose. He fidgeted while my receipt rattled away on the cash register printer. I blew his mind, but that’s okay. I then listed all of the culinary and health benefits of dandelions and how I savor the roasted roots for both coffee and tea blends. Of course I mentioned that the only way this works is if they are not assaulted with toxins. Then I left with him standing there scratching his head.

I am amazed at the discoveries that I continue to make each day while studying the medicinal, culinary and aromatic properties of plants that grow by my front doorstep, in the fields, in and around the pond, rivers and streams, and from all possible nooks in the woods. The earth is abundant, providing us with everything that we need. It simply isn’t necessary to ingest synthetic chemicals. Of course it is wise to obtain professional and medical guidance, honoring science and taking full advantage of modern technology. What we should remember is that healing, maintenance and wellness is obtainable and effective within the boundaries and possibilities of nature. Instead of bending, harnessing and abusing nature by going against Her ways, it is much more effective to harmonize and reclaim our natural essence.

I sat on the soft grass with my basket filled with various leaves and blossoms, listening to the call of the male chickadees and watching two crows fly back and forth building a nest just out of my sight.

My heart quickened at the sight of the deep red trilliums about to uncurl into magnificence. The paper white and yellow daffodils nodded in the slight breeze while newly emerging blue hyacinths shiver slightly beside them. I noticed the lilacs showing their colors. My heart swells at the thought of their luscious scent and how I long for it. I thought about how many things I needed to get done and how little they really mattered.

I harvested enough for drying on this day and sat admiring the wildness and weeds and thinking about the moon from the night before. It was only a half moon, but as bright as if it were full. In the past, I might have been lonely sitting there missing a partial moon. I have learned a different truth that lies in the basket of blossoms, leaves, fruits and roots. Miracles. I comprehend our oneness and believe it is cause to celebrate. Yes, sometimes it rains within and I am unable to escape the melancholy, grayness and shadows that may follow, but without light there would be none of this.

Journal: Babies Breath

Photo  courtesy of

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