being watched by this breathing earth
it's the season to be out, and out i have been. my apologies for not being in touch, but that's what happens when you are hoping to hear from an herbalist in the summertime. you know.
in the garden, the weeds grow faster than the herbs (of course), and the chickens are constantly letting me know they are much more mischievous than i give them credit for. but weeds aside, i'm brimming with pride at how this land has changed in four years. as i walk by the cottonwood that shades most of the dwellings here, i always say hello. i know something about them* now: who runs up their trunk, where they like to send runners, when the blessed poplar buds will fall and leave our feet sticky, and the difference between a 5 mile wind and a 10 mile windsong in the leaves. and cottonwood knows our rhythms too. i feel like i'm being watched, all the time, with slow growing eyes, and am reminded of these recently read words:
"the words conservation and ecology, as we use them in the Western sense, don't exactly fit what Indian people did or do with the land. it was their livelihood, which depended on reciprocity. thus, the trees were not seen just as trees, they were also seen as relatives. the trees are relatives and other species are relatives and they watched you all the time. it was a forest of eyes that looked at you to see how you were handling the remains of plants and animals." -dennis martinez
so if we each knew, deep down, that we are always being watched by this breathing earth, how would that change our whole narrative?
truly, i think that the greatest healing that can come out of learning about plant medicine is this shift in perception, in being in deep relationship with all that is. walking down a path and not anticipating the endpoint, but seeing the plant people surrounding you. not just knowing a pistol from a stamen, or the properties of skullcap vs. rosemary, but really recognizing that a quiet path in the woods is a very populated place and we are all being watched. sometimes, that's all that keeps me tethered...knowing that there's a witness, that suffering and joy and grief can always be a shared experience. otherwise, we are all so very alone. and being alone, well, it's not how humans thrive. it's not how any of us thrive, and we are all needed to take care of each other.
* when referring to plants, i've been enjoying using the more gender neutral, all encompassing word they.
may you know the earth as the earth knows you~
frieda kipar bay