As glowing, fresh spring green turns a darker summer hue, our burgeoning vital energy bursts forward into buds of activity. With the advent of spring, the young ones stirred and spun in their play, their seats, their dreams. Following the moon into June, they are settling into themselves with fresh ideas formed, action begun.
As a teacher of young people, I felt affected by the whirl of the students from the first day after the worm moon. Now that summer is setting in with the latest full moon of June, I return from travels to the whir of home life with young children, and settling into summer routine, and completing laid out projects.
A slurry of information flutters around my mind, not unlike the monarchs as they begin their journey north again, bumping into each other, moving up, down, around. As the monarchs, my thoughts and plans are reaching their goals, slowly and methodically once the activity and community thinned out. My summer community changes from children and parents, coworkers and guests, to renowned herbalists, mentors and friends, and fellow learners of herbalism, as peers or students. What I learn from their teachings, and my own, is great and in need of processing. Creativity strikes when inspired but it needs support with nutrition and plant allies.
The herbs that transition my flight into creative mode are grown in my back yard. They grow in the prairies, along the roads, in the parks, the woods. Some find their own way here. Others I invite. Others I forage. Though season is getting on, I still love to nibble the dandelion leaves and young plantain while I'm out gardening. The ground ivy, violets, and red clover are some of a variety of daily tea, and macerating in oils or liqueur. Stinging nettles nourish my entire system with vitamins and iron, thyme in cooking, strawberry leaves before they rust away after their last berries drop. I nibble the young yellow dock leaves that have migrated into the yard proper, away from the compost, cooling me in the heat. Lemonbalm and mint revive me for the transition. Lavender helps calm my nerves just by smelling lovely, and chamomile, my new best old friend, aids my digestion and helps me chill out enough to think straight.
What is in your yard? If you treat your lawn, why? Is your aesthetic different than mine? Your neighbors'? Your neighborhood's? When I first moved to our home, most homeowners treated their lawns. Now less than 50% do. The insects have returned, the birds are healthier and more abundant, the wildlife is growing. It smells nicer most days. Instead of closing the windows on a beautiful afternoon, they stay open! After over half a decade, the lawn has become a yarden where we source our food and medicine. Others' lawns are full of these life-giving plants too now! Go see me on Instagram to see the bounty of a neighborhood un-treated.
Wouldn't you love to go outside your door and find potassium-rich, digestion enhancing dandelion leaves for dinner, for tea, for tincturing, for free? Violet leaves that soothe lungs and stomach with their mucilage? Plantain to help those cuts and bug bites heal up and draw out the itch? For FREE. All you have to do is bend over and pick them!
The best part of what I do, is that it is accessible to so many people, even if a trip to the park is in order. Make sure to find no spray areas and get permission from the park but dandelion, violet and plantain are not endangered, not at risk, and are abundant. To find out what and how to do with these plants, stay tuned to my events page for classes, workshops, and plant walks, subscribe to the blog and like me on Facebook.
**This post began May 21 and finished June 18. Busy month. Good month.
Sarah is a community herbalist, raising children, teaching children and adults the ways of herbalism and nature, and handcrafting herbal products for the community.