Monday, July 1, 2013


The river trip this weekend was very relaxing and gave me a chance to think a lot about my life.  My mother took care of Miss F during the six hour trip down the river.  I kayaked down the river without flipping in Compton's rapids (a big deal considering they sent me to the ER three years ago).

A large part of the times, I was floating along side *B*'s parents or my brother and his friends.  But the other part of the time, I just got to take in the surroundings, breathe the fresh air, and just be by myself.

I enjoyed the beauty of the river and felt a pang of envy as I thought about how amazing it could be to live in the area.

But it was later that night in the campsite that I really felt contentment start to set in.  One of the girls on the trip stepped in poison ivy at our lunch stop.  Her lower leg was red and itchy.  No one had calamine lotion, and she was complaining about the pain and itching.  I popped up, spotted some plantain, and told her to chew (or rather pound due to the mud on the ground) the leaves into a paste and apply it.  I knew it worked on bug bites, but I wasn't sure about poison ivy.  Sure enough, she reported that it didn't itch anymore!

I was happy to be able to help, and I enjoyed the surprised looks I got from the "adults" of the group - 50 years old and better.  They had no idea such a ubiquitous plant did anything other than grow.  It was just a weed to them.  Rather than relying on plants for cures, we've been relying solely on pills for over fifty years.

As the trip went on, I found myself talking a lot about my knowledge of plants.  From dock to treat nettle stings to chicory as a coffee substitute, I was able to hold forth on a variety of medicinal and edible plants.  I was spotting stands of sumac trees and looking to find ripe berry clusters.  We're looking forward to making tea of those berries in the next month or so.

I realized on my way home, that I'm actually making measurable progress in my goal of being able to identify many common plants and their usefulness.  I want to be that old woman (one day, not yet) who can go out to her garden to pluck a cure for what ails you.  I want to be able to go out and forage a little snack from my surroundings.  As our garden grows into the garden of our daydreams and my knowledge base grows, I feel more and more at ease with the life I'm carving out.

No comments:

Post a Comment