In the midst of harvest season, I remember to gather the last of the medicines we’ll need this winter.
Many of the herbs we gather, mostly tea plants, come from the mountains. It is one of the most important things we do each year, a pilgrimage of sorts.
And there is also much medicine to gather here in the garden. Some were planted intentionally for that reason, like the mint, oatstraw, and nettle patch (yes, that’s the kind of thing we actually cultivate in New Mexico). Some things were planted for beauty, like the roses and lavender and Echinacea.
Some things are volunteers, so humble and common I have to remind myself of the power in their small, dark green leaves. That’s the mallows, and the alfalfa. Potent plants that will nourish us all through the winter.
Wild, cultivated, and vagabonds from between the cracks: We gather them all.
Having a relationship with our medicine, even if it’s just some alfalfa tea from the front yard, is a powerful way of re-localizing our habits and connecting with seasonal rhythms of our home.
It empowers us as healers, deepens our sense of place, and reduces the harm we cause to the planet in our quest for natural remedies.
We become healers of the landscape as we tend the stands of herbs that surround us in spaces both wild and domestic. And the herbs, of course, take care of us in return.
It is an ancient partnership. One each of us can claim and celebrate in these last days before winter.