Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Time With Trees

I love trees. They make my heart flutter.

I've spent the last couple years just adoring them; gathering some knowledge, practicing recognition, and making medicines. And of course I continue, as it's such an ongoing process.

My most treasured learnings thus far have been from Black Birch, Black Cherry, Hickory, Witch Hazel, Alder, Sassafras, Willow, Apple, Linden, Cottonwood, Juniper, Locust, Pine, Peach, and Elm.

In fact I would venture to say that collection could cover quite a panacea. I nearly feel sad for states with less abundance and varieties of trees!

As I marvel through my plethora of tinctures and elixirs overflowing their allotted counter and cabinet space, I ponder what I might share with my readers. Some days words just don't cut it. How can I possibly tell you what my black cherry elixir tastes like, or how unusually warming and comforting my black birch elixir feels?

What I really want to say, is go spend some time with trees. Smell the bark of the cherry trees. Taste the leaves of the birch. Draw each part of the tree. Watch what creatures love it for home.
Log how long it takes for the leaves to turn color, then fall. Get to know your trees.

I could pontificate or get esoteric; sharing about my thoughts while gathering black cherries. How they spoke to me of balancing labor and fruits of labor. How they coaxed me into a pleasurable rhythm as I collected, making the work easier and the reward greater. How I knew we had more rain than New Hampshire by the size and moisture in the cherry. How the Natives prized them for lung and heart conditions.

But will those be your thoughts? Wisdom you can own? Maybe not. Perhaps the cherry elixir will clear your cough the way it does mine - but my time with cherry can't replace yours, no matter how profound it was. My wind and sky and temperature on that particular day will be different. My heart was listening for wisdom applicable to my own context - and why would a friend tell all their friends the same advice?

Perhaps I can sell a bottle of my willow tincture, even filled with all the energetic magic of my time while I gathered and prepared it. But what if, instead of downing some while driving, you took that tincture while sitting under a willow tree?

So there is a part of me that wants to arrive here, for all you lovely readers and plant friends, and announce a grand medicinal realization - it makes me sound professional, wise, and well-studied. It would make me feel as though I just gave everyone some great gift of myself or stamped success on my day. But I'm not sure that today I need approval; what is greater in my heart, when I really listen, is a desire to sit under a tree with the glinting sun on it's blades, hear the lessons meant for me, and know that some others out there in the world are getting their very own session of tree healing too.


ChristineMM said...

Lovely post.

Was thinking of you because thanks to your teachings I can identify the wild cherry with ease. I have discovered perhaps 18 along one side of my MIL property and the neighbor has them bordering 2 sides of their property. Wow. I thought you'd be feeling happy about so many of them in one place where no one has noticed them for a long time. The former resident there, an elderly lady who passed away, was an avid birder and gardener and she planted many trees, shrubs and plants that birds love or that are ornamental for people. The residents since then have neglected her plantings. Well at least I'm noticing...all these years later...

Sarah Head said...

Wonderfully wise words, Ananda, thank you for sharing them. It is a hard lesson not every one can accept- that so much of our knowledge and healing has to be done ourselves, rather than relying on the information provided by others. It used to shock, but now just saddens me when I suggest something to someone and they ask where they can buy the remedy. Often my answer is - you go out and find your nearest tree....

Ananda said...

Christine that is wonderful! I'm happy for you!

Sarah, yes indeed. It's a difficult tine with so little attention given to time in nature or the importance of it. Even us who know it sometimes can't fit it in the schedule. But I have hope :)

April said...

I would love to make some tree elixirs. Do you have any suggestions for field guides or a source for recipes?