Droughts and Plants and Herbalism

    I was laying in bed last night reflecting on the weekend of outdoor herb classes I just taught.  It is a real challenge to be outside with a group of excited aspiring herbalists in spring and remain positive in the midst of one of the direst springs I have ever seen.  I realized that I […]

    I was laying in bed last night reflecting on the weekend of outdoor herb classes I just taught.  It is a real challenge to be outside with a group of excited aspiring herbalists in spring and remain positive in the midst of one of the direst springs I have ever seen.  I realized that I was going to have to dig deep within myself to really keep my head up and breathe deeply.  Every day that goes by right now I rush outside and hope to see that the Earth has decided to surprise us and give in to some well needed rain.  Texas is on Fire.  There are storms,  nut not to put out any fires—they are of dust.  You can visibly see dust hanging in the air in certain areas.  I happened to walk through my friends living room and heard on the news that there was a massive “tornado outbreak”(like its herpes or something) in the midwest.  Flooding in West and Southeast,  unseasonable freezes up North.  All of this here in North America and then there is still a horrible nuclear disaster in Japan with radioactivity pouring into the sea and air on the wake of the one year anniversary of the gulf oil spill.
    So with massive earthquakes chnaging the tilt of the earth, no wonder the weather is off.
    I really feel this sadness when I look outside, mixed with the strange sense of rage coming off the Earth. I know I am angry myself but more than that I am sad.  It is april.  I was out  East of town on my friends permaculture farm.  It hasnt rained out there since January.  There is a stillness, almost resignation of sorts to the air out there.  And yet with absolutely no water we have Stillingia, Cirsium, Cnidoscolus, Vaccinium arboreus,and Yuccas in bloom!   The amount of busy pollinators around our vaccinium was crazy and very intense–wasps–bees of many kinds-flies and others all swarming the flowers for food. As sad as things look and feel, plants continue to amaze me.  The next day of teaching we visited one of my favorite parks, Mckinney Falls.  We all watched people playing in the water of Onion creek, with a giant snake coiled nearby them.  It amazes me people don’t think twice about water quality.  With as little water as we have had I wouldnt even think of getting into the  Creek.  I sat in the shade of Cedar trees turning brown and dropping needles on us and watched dust devils swirl on the paths.  Reminded me so much of living in Bisbee, AZ.  Again I saw the blooms amidst the dust:  Opuntia flowers of course, Cornus, Oenethera, Aslepias asperula, and few random Achilleas here and there.  Being over 90 degrees in April with no real rain to speak of since last fall is setting us up for a seriously scary summer.  I gazed at the full moon last night, which was huge and seemed full of fire.  I said to my partner, “the Earth seems so pissed right now………….”  all he could do was agree.  As an herbalist, who is wildcrafts and is dedicated to preserving wildlands and protecting the plants I am really thinking hard about what my responsibility is in this as things get more intense around me.  Do I vow to only pee outside and catch all my graywater to return it to the plants in my yard?  Do I let part of my garden die so I don’t put extra pressure on things?  Do I just not worry about it and know that these cycles all shift ?  I just don’t know.   Maybe it will finally rain and I can relax a bit but with each dry day it gets warmer and a little more intense so does the feeling inside of me.  The hardest part is to remain calm and positive and get the next generation of herbalists in my classes prepared for the future without being all doom and gloom.
    As long as there are flowers, I will be able to look past soome of the pain.  As a wildcrafter and one who is dedicated to land stewardship, these are trying times.  We made a poppy flower essence in class.  The beautiful red poppies are forever cheerful and hopeful putting out gorgeous flowers and lots of seed.  They have spread all over my yard and are fine with being thirsty.  Maybe this is the time of the red poppy essence.  I am off to try some out and see if it helps shift my mood.