I spent a fair amount of time in trees as a child. Even now, I cannot resist a good tree limb. I would speak to the ancient elder as if I had known him a long time.
As a child I spent more time with trees and plants and animals then I did people. I had the Pets and People club that consisted of me being the only human, and my calico cat and little three legged dog as the pets. We would sit among the trees that are no longer there, a house sits there now, next to our home in Denver. I would talk to the birds and the squirrels. They would eat out of my hand. I was eleven, twelve. At thirteen I spent more time among the residents of an assisted living care center than I did children my own age. We played poker and I listened. I heard about keeping potatoes in the cellar for the winter and took to memory the recipe for scalloped potatoes. I listened to the haunting and jovial tunes of an older resident who used to play for the silent movies, her elderly fingers glinting off the piano keys with ease. I knew when the elders started talking with people that were not seemingly there, their time to enter the spirit world was soon. The messengers had come to retrieve them.
I watched my children play beneath trees of ancient girth as I sipped hot coffee on fall days. Their mirth mirroring mine in the heart of nature, where we could find it in the city. Mountain hikes to teach them of tiger swallows and the creamy scent of ponderosas.
My three year old granddaughter points out a hawk. It flies so close to us we can see its spotted underside as it swoops over our heads. She speaks to flowers. Asks permission to clip and smell. She makes medicine in her play kitchen out of mullein leaves and sunflowers to treat her dolls. She whispers to trees.
Twenty-five moves. I tell the plants on the balcony how beautiful they are. We all long to be closer to the earth. One last move we wish for. Since Doug and I have been married we have searched for home. A place of seeming permanence among trees and the medicinal plants we use and adore. Near a water stream and hawks floating on streams of air. In a cabin dear or a house of humble, near hearth, and lamplight, and quiet under stars of glimmering future tells. So desperately do we wish for this.
To live in the Medicine Way it is necessary to find a home. Where people know where to find me to seek help. Near my shop of herbs and brewing medicines. A place to have gardens and sacred areas of plants. To protect an eco system, to know my place. To have respite to restore.
I whispered to the plants last night, “Why me?” Why was I chosen to work with plants and medicine? What makes me worthy to handle their powers, why do they agree to work with me? In my dream I swung my feet while turning a page, one arm around the tree. I was transported to the times of reading high in the trees. The ponderosas remember me.