Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Cry of the Mother Hawk

Up on the hill, where the raspberries flower in purple, and the horsetail holds the soil, the Mother Hawk cries. I sling my pack over my shoulder and tuck a paper bag in, just in case. The grass pricks my legs and makes them itch. I watch for the clematis along the ground, cleverly covering for the poison ivy. I pass the spots I remember from walking each summer, and although a very short distance, the detail, variety, and richness of each step is revealed when on foot. The same rock, the same patch of Russian Olive, and the same dapplings of wild Oregano. I discover another huge Common Elder bush, flowering later than the one in the sun, where I am headed. The Vetch is on display with mathematical genius, making ample room for fairies to romp. The Sassafras is high here, adorned with layers of grape vines. Spikes of hearty mugwort make me feel right at home. Down below I can hear the river, running evenly through it's vein. The Mother Hawk's screams penetrate the air. I pass the Dogbane and multiflora, heading further up the hill. To my right, the crust of trees marks the wall of the forest, where within lies hidden dens and rocky mazes. I peer in, half hoping to see something new.
A squirrel peers back.

The Ferns are special here. Along the base of the trees, like handcrafted anklets, they feather out in humid joy. The Maiden hair fern is especially a treasure, with her jewel leaves and striking dark stem.
To my left, the open space makes a happy home for the sun bathing species. The brambles in excess, from predominantly wineberries, to red raspberries, blackberries, black raspberries, and the anticlimactic purple flowering raspberries, whose flower is much more sexy than the taste of it's rather bland fruit. The St. Johnswort finds the drier spots to thrive, and the groundnuts creep along the cliff side of the brambles.

Today I've come up just to observe. Sometimes, us herbalists, are forever distracted by the urgency of harvesting. Especially here is New England, when we are waiting for the right equation of blossom to sun, or distance from the road, and hoping that when the time arrives we aren't stuck at work. And so we get tangled. But today, while the kids are off with friends, I trod up alone to watch. To pay homage to the Mother Elder and all her kin. Just to watch the Hawk guard her nest. She cries so often, I think she is warning against me, the human. But the more I listen, the more I realize that I am not her enemy. She reacts to the crows who irritate her sense of territory, and to each car that rumbles up the road. To test my theory, I jump up and down, waving my hands and making noises. She just stares at me, with an expression similar to, perhaps, a teenager to her less than cool mother.

Without a single plant harvested, the Medicine up here is huge. The feeling of plenty, of wildness intact, of sensation and wonder. I smack mosquitoes with a little more appreciation for their vampire talents. I feel a sense of peace that only nature can provide. The place where the less I do, the better. Where who I am is everything and nothing.

This little spot is so small in the world. I ask it my heavy questions with never a clear answer. Is this home for me? Is this where I belong? Is this my purpose?

The Thunderstorms, expected again today, never came.
So I got to watch the hawk for even longer.



4 comments:

Yarrow said...

What a beautiful, poetic post. Thank you for sharing it with us. I almost felt as if I too were there, and am slightly envious that I was not. Blessings.

The Plant Whisperer said...

Hi Yarrow!
Funny how the romanticism of poetry can create envy. I know just what you mean. In my next post you can read about some of the things you WON't envy!
Love
ananda

Kiva Rose said...

Hah, I can just see you jumping up and down at the hawk, Ananda. ROFL.

Your writing sure has taken a beautiful turn lately... seems like it's leading you somewhere, like the river.

Love to you, dear one.

The Plant Whisperer said...

Hi Kiva...
I do love my river so. I wish there were not other people's houses intbetween it and me! My perspective changes from day to day... from curse to blessing ...
It's blissful right now, during the summer warmth, but then I miss it all the rest of the year long!