When last I posted, it was the dead of winter–grey some days, bright others, but the days were short and the darkness long. Now, the days are nearing their longest, and while the sun still alternates heartily with rain, we are beginning to see the summer’s color and blooms begin.
The birds are singing and scavenging, and the garden is alive with native bees, bumble bees, ants, and (yes, my favorite) slugs. I have planted nearly everything I have room to plant, and now the task is to wait for it all to come up, mature, and bear the gifts of food and medicine that we long await. The garden is filled with medicinal and culinary herbs: yarrow, mullein, mints, valerian, elecampagne, tulsi, sage, lemon balm, motherwort, comfrey, nettles, bee balm, saint john’s wort, thyme, calendula, lavender, oregano, dandelion, rosemary, garlic, echinacea, borage, hyssop, and anise hyssop. In pots, I have cilantro, ashwaganda, and tulsi, along with tomatoes, beets, greens, carrots, and chamomile, nasturtium and calendula. I have been putting things wherever I can make an inch of space for them, hoping that they will flourish in the chaos of it all. So far, except for the continual feasting by the slugs, everything is doing well.
While I wait for the garden to come to fruition, so to speak, I also watch and wait as dreams I have been working toward also come closer to me. The herbalist path has been winding through everything I do lately, and there are some budding opportunities to take my work more purposefully into the world. As I study and read, I think more and more about what the world needs right now, and what feels right is making herbal medicine more accessible and available to every family, every individual. Many of us are beginning to see our way out of the confused and broken system upon which we currently rely–unfortunately, many here in Maine (and around the country) are being forced out of the system because of cuts to important social services for needy families. What herbalists can do is help to fill the gap by providing health information classes that will serve people throughout their lives–classes about seasonal eating, tonic teas, and using herbs in daily life. I am excited to begin to step out of my fear of not being an “expert” and into a role of truly helping people who need or want to care for themselves and their families in a different way.
I am grateful for the ways that this year has been unfolding for me, even when things seem most dark and heavy, there is a continually positive force that urges me forward through the fear and the “I don’t want to”s. I hear it in the twittering birds’ voices outside my window, and I see it every time I look at the plants that teach me how to be present every single day.