Once upon a time, a blue-eyed, brown-haired little girl lived at the seaside. Her beach toys, pails, and shovels were never very far away. Sometimes her pails contained sea water, and other times they contained rain water.
Early one Spring, on a chilly afternoon, the blue-eyed, brown-haired little girl gathered magnolia petals. Carefully, she picked them up, one by one, from a dewy grassy lawn. She placed them in an empty beach pail. The soft pastel pink petals swirled round and round as she added rain water from another pail to her petal collection. She found a rock, smooth and round; one that would fill her hand. Gently, joyfully, and purposefully, the blue-eyed, brown-haired little girl, holding the rock firmly, crushed the magnolia petals. Sentient, releasing, and blending, the fragrant magnolia petals' juices flowed into the rain water.
I was making perfume on that chilly spring day, and this was my first experience of working with the plants to create something lovely, nourishing, and healing. Not so gifted with cultivated plants, I always felt I had some special sense of wild plants and their purpose. When I was older, friends spoke of their ability to understand and communicate with animals. Although I couldn't do that, I understood what they meant, because, on some similar level, I "understood" the plants. After years of reading about herbal medicine, and receiving Susun Weed's yearly mailing of course offerings, I decided to formally study herbal medicine.
Today when I wildcraft, make medicine, and share the abundant gifts our green allies offer, I am filled with the same joy and commitment to purpose I felt so many Springs ago, as that blue-eyed, brown-haired, little girl who so lovingly, crushed magnolia petals into perfume.
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