Yesterday it was warm enough here for me to kick off my mud-caked boots and work barefoot in the sunshine, scrubbing roots and tossing dock leaves to the rabbits. What a rare delight that was for October.
I was harvesting medicine plants for the upcoming retreat – dock and dandelion, elecampane and horseradish, burdock and sage.
The retreat is just a few weeks away, so some of these roots will stay fresh in the fridge until then; the others are tucked into a borrowed dehydrator and will head into mason jars this morning.
Prepping these plants was deeply satisfying for me – in many ways. It was a glorious October day, so the sun on the autumn trees painted my experience, of course. And my children were away, so working alone in rare silence was something of a meditation.
But it was more than that.
At it's heart was the idea that not only will I will make medicines from these plants for my family, but I will place these plants in the hands of other women so that they may learn how to create their own medicine. To share not remedies but knowledge? That is something that will nourish these families far beyond a single season.
What a wonderful gift – for all of us.
Not so many generations ago I suppose this was simply how communities prepared for the coming season. To dig and prepare and teach and learn – together. As a community.
But today 'community' has so many meanings. It's more than the people who live in your town. I have a neighborhood community and a larger local community; a social media community and a blog community; a homeschooling community and a community of other medicine makers. And on and on and on.
And while I know the retreat is not a logistic or financial reality for everyone, I feel pulled to share this knowledge with more of you.
I'm not yet sure what that means, but I'm open to suggestions. Perhaps one-day gatherings or YouTube videos; books or blog posts.
It is something I feel incredibly called to do and something that is a synthesis of so many parts of who I am – the naturalist, the forager, the herbalist, the body care maker, the teacher, the writer, the photographer – it all comes together here. I'm just waiting to see how it unfolds.
If you have suggestions I'm all ears. Because the experience of this retreat is something I can't wait to share with the fifteen women who will attend, but I would love to offer something to the rest of you as well.
Indeed, I can hardly wait.