I’ve bounced all over with my connection to plants. This year, foraging and herbalism are taking the forefront it seems. In a gentle and quiet way these are perfect plant explorations for me during this difficult year. It’s a way to get outside and move but adds a sense of connection and observation to the place in which I grew up; a simple way to connect deeper with the place I call home.
As I mull over my small place in this big world, I keep hearing myself repeating the same few words over and over- simple, local, beautiful. These are my words, how I want to describe my place in this world with what I do. It’s my new mantra I suppose. I didn’t realized that until now. When my Dad was in the hospital my mantra was “day by day”. I could still hope. That’s all I could think to get me through those tough days. As soon as he had passed away, I longed for another mantra to take it’s place. I had nothing. Day by day wasn’t enough. Some time has passed, which is really what has to happen before a new perspective can take shape. And while this new mantra doesn’t quite take away my deep sadness, it does give me a direction to keep moving in that will help heal me and ultimately others. Because doesn’t it always feel better to help others while helping yourself?
This spring, I’ve been trying to learn about and collect local, healing plants to use in simple and beautiful soap and other body healing remedies. I’ll be taking “simple, local, beautiful” with me on my journey with my fledgling company- Flora + Fiber.
In the midst of my processing everything, I loved coming across this writing the other day:
In Defense Of Good Herbalism //
The simple medicines are often the most powerful. Forget exotic herbs from foreign places whose names fall inelegantly from your mouth; instead venture just outside your door to greet the potent and prevalent wild medicines which have been waiting for you to notice them all along.
There are no miracle herbs and yet every herb holds it’s a miracle all it’s own. There are no herbs you should take everyday for the rest of your life and no herb that is one size fits all. There is no herb that will do anything the human body is not already capable of–at least not for long before burning out. There is just good plain common sense nourishment to be had in these wholesome plants and wild weeds. Yes, adaptogenic and so-called “tonic” herbs have their place but they are so widely misunderstood and when misused, as is so often the case, can cause further injury to an already depleted system. Herbs are not a substitute for eating nourishing foods, sleeping long hours, or exercising daily.
And so I urge you, go outside and pick some plantain, gather some chickweed, collect a few leaves of mullein, and for goodness sake eat a dandelion or two. As a community of plant people, let’s honor the stronger and more rare herbs, reserving them for when they are truly needed; let’s all try a little simple self care in place of the “tonics” that promise endless energy, youth, beauty, and so on. Without conclusion, I will share with you the urgings of my beloved teacher, Paul Bergner–Be a boring herbalist.
-Sophia Rose, master herbalist