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Winter Plant Musings

~ This first appeared in Ms. Bluth's newsletter "A Spoonful of Legend" ~

Feb 24, 2015

Debra BluthIt is late February. Blanketed with snow in New England, it’s hard to remember sometimes those plant roots underneath in the depth, waiting. I love to think of them – their energy pulled in, gathering. Soon. And in the meantime, the night sky often reveals such clear, bright stars it takes my breath away.

It’s right, this snow. As much as we might grumble at shoveling, clearing our windshields, and potential days of missed work, it is good to remind ourselves that the weather knows what it’s doing. There is an intelligent whole that seeks balance.

I recently read – on the front page of the news, no less – of an experimental plan to inject sulphur into the atmosphere in research spots in an attempt to cool the planet. I could not believe my eyes. A plan like this demonstrates no understanding of the balance. A disruption like this is pure hubris, in my opinion; one research spot will affect the entire world. It frightens me, the extent of our ignorance like this.

[Editor's Note: here's the link: huffingtonpost_sulphur-clouds-climate-change.]

The deeper I go with my work and in my life, the more I so directly experience and witness our interdependence, and how what we do to the planet we do to ourselves. It is clear that the toxicity in our soils and oceans directly winds up in our bodies through our food sources, that our use of plastic wreaks havoc on our endocrine systems, that our plasma is affected by the health of the air we breathe. Even when we are educated about such things, it can be hard to find healthy foods when GMO labeling is not required and nobody lists heavy metals as an ingredient in their chocolate. Some days I am filled with such sadness about this.

And yet the plants continue to come forward to assist. From within the imbalance are those offering to bring balance. They bring balance to the environment, and they bring balance to humans. The plants and minerals that help detox and dispel radiation, the mushrooms that will eat heavy metals and transform petrochemicals. It’s astounding, the healing force present and possible.

Nature knows what she’s doing. The fungi that appeared at Fukushima to eat the radiation, the plantain that grows in soil compacted by human foot traffic, thriving because its roots can pull up minerals from the deep – these appear and do their thing, healing the environment so that the next plant or fungi can come. And so on – each successive plant and fungus helping to repopulate and detoxify the soil so that the next inhabitants can arrive and thrive. At some point, if undisturbed, that open area where the plantain lived will become old growth forest, and the once barren soil will have become dark and rich mineral earth, teeming with biological life.

The same plants that help heal the environment can heal our human biology. There is no separation. That plantain that reaches deep into the soil can also pull from deep in our bodies, and, as a flower essence, it can pull from deep within our consciousness. The same mushroom that serves the bees’ immunity can serve our own compromised immune systems. Our own digestive systems should be teeming with symbiotic bacteria, just like healthy soil.

But this healing and interdependence of the earth is quiet. It’s happening all the time, without flash or sparkle. It’s easy to walk over plantain without noticing it – it’s just the weeds under our feet. Mushrooms are quiet compared to a smart phone. But it’s my belief that it’s these undemanding, vastly intelligent beings who have the capacity to help us through a very tough time. And that taking the time to notice them and appreciate them and perhaps even love them is paramount to our own personal healing, both physically and spiritually.

It is our lot as humans that as individuals we can never see the whole. We can only hope to gain bits of wisdom as we go along, widening and deepening our view. I think that is a beautiful thing – that we need each other to broaden our perspective. And by ‘each other’ I don’t just mean humans. To open and widen our perspective to include all of nature is not just our responsibility but our salvation.

Text and photo reprinted with permission of Debra Bluth

Debra Bluth is a flower essence practitioner, herbalist, and yoga/movement teacher who practices in southern Maine, NH, and the Boston area. She is co-facilitating an upcoming Women's Plant Medicine apprenticeship in southern Maine this coming summer, 2015. She also facilitates an online chakra apprenticeship for women. You can contact her at http://seedandlegend.com for more information.

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