Summer Greetings Fellow Herbies and Foodies!
I recently returned from a visit to France (my first). It was a great trip on so many levels, not the least being that it got me out of my comfort zone in order to experience another culture. Barry and I took a few French lessons so we would at least be able to speak and understand a little when interacting with the residents. Part of the trip we spent in Normandy at the Omaha and Utah beaches (my partner is a WW II history buff). Oh. My. Herbiness.
Elder bushes flourished EVERYWHERE along with Stinging Nettle, Yarrow, Mullein and Comfrey! I was amazed at how abundantly these herbs grew in the craters created by bombs 75 years ago. Their abundant blooms and thriving communities in and around these craters were incredible. These huge craters created micro-climates for these sturdy weeds to survive and thrive. The plants were and still are repairing the wounds of the land, their liveliness and beauty juxtaposing great devastation.
The intensity and level of destruction in that part of France was horrific. The loss of life and the lasting effects of war on the survivors forever changed them and the world beyond. War has always been inhumane, but this ushered in a new age of how combat is fought: one of distant killing and destruction, of separating oneself from the immediate consequence of one’s actions.
If you believe that there is an energy or spirit that imbues the Earth, then the daily unrelenting shelling, poisoning, and blood that the Earth absorbed would have you think that the land’s spirit was also shattered beyond repair. And yet…the plants grow. They bloom. They thrive, even. This transformation created a place of softening, of gentle evolution. There is a peacefulness, a sense of stillness.
Each of these plants brings their specific healing energy to this place. Elder boosts immune response and in Celtic tradition was associated with death and rebirth (the blooms symbolize reincarnation of the dead); Yarrow helps with bleeding and fevers and also helps the “wounded warrior” heal again; Nettle is a nutritive and an aid in making clear choices in toxic situations; Comfrey helps repair injuries and deep psychological wounds by helping one feel emotionally and physically safe; Mullein helps with lung and back issues and softens those things which have hardened by helping one tune into their inner voice.
From chaos to softness and stillness, a cycle is completed. As we begin the seasonal change into Summer, may our personal cycle move from disruption to composure and from mourning to evenness of temper.