First! Pardon my photos. My phone has been through many tragedies, and it has an eternal smudge.
Second, I’m fascinated by herbs and trees.
I view herbs as friends who give support where I need it. A source of help, health, and nourishment from the earth. I came from the earth and I’ll return to it someday, so it stands to reason that plants, whether we understand them or use them often, are connected to us. It’s just a part of life.
How many of us enjoy lying in bed, face-to-face, breathing in someone else’s breath? I’m not really fond of that. It grosses me out to share hot carbon dioxide with someone. But here we are, in a close relationship with the plants, breathing their released carbon dioxide while they breathe our oxygen. It’s perfect! No one seems to mind. ;o) We need each other. Perhaps that’s why my favorite place is a forest. My husband seems to know that when I’m stressed out or down, that’s the place for me. Here . . .
And don’t even get me started on being back in my old stomping grounds. In some places you can smell evergreen even in town.
Herbalism is an ancient study with the power to bring healing and balance. It has served to bring people together to share knowledge with each other and pass it on to younger generations. I have a high regard for truly knowledgeable herbalists who use their skills to serve others. In my experience, they’ve seen and alleviated suffering and often carry themselves in the same motherly way the earth does. With generosity, a soft touch, and a self-sacrificial heart.
In the novel I’m finishing up and publishing soon, Tree of Life, one of my characters is an herbalist/medicine woman. She sometimes thinks in terms of herbs and trees. A laugh strikes her as “peppermint and lavender,” and someone’s bitterness is thought of like motherwort (a useful, but very bitter herb), wisdom is like jewelweed to overcome the sting of nettling offenses, a young boy’s hair is white as corn silk, and it’s in the earth and the trees that she grounds herself when she is overwhelmed.
The combination of healing, balance, color, service, taste, AND, when used in ignorance, the potential dangers make herbs an interesting source of metaphor and description that suits me and the kind of stories I write/have written so far.
I wouldn’t call Tree of Life a celebration of herbalism, but it’s there, and I thought it was worth sharing a bit of my inspiration with you. :o)
I’ve shared a couple of videos below. Susun Weed is a well-respected herbalist, and I love her videos because she often talks about herbs in such a way that you can almost see a personality and feel like they’re your pals. ;o) She has a very wholesome way of speaking about them, with stories and metaphor. I also appreciate the frequent involvement of her family, which is one of the very things I love about herbalism. How it lends itself to passing on useful, empowering information and bonding with younger generations in a meaningful way.
The other video has a kind of . . .cheesy approach, but I enjoy most of the words of the song by Rising Appalachia. :o) A salute to the honorable profession of the “medicine woman” or “medicine man.” :o)
Sarah Joy Green-Hart