We live in a connected world. Not connected by the threads of modern human-to-human telecommunication (though these links have catalyzed big changes), but by our interactions with the plants, animals, mushrooms, microbes, soil and stone, water, air, fire and light with whom we share the biosphere. We became human, and continue to grow, fully embedded in this living, breathing system.
’Tis the season for all things cozy. The holidays offer an excuse to indulge a little, as we should during these dark days of winter. Treating yourself is one of the many pleasures of life that make it sweet and joyful.
As we settle into the fall season, welcoming in the long nights and colder temps, it's the perfect time to cozy up, welcome solitude and deep self-care. October is all about the grounding and warming rituals that we welcome in for the winter months.
As fall moves on, some folks complain that the days get short. But think about the longer nights! You can feel them now. When the moon is full, the arc it traces lasts from sunset to sunrise, instead of getting drowned out early by the insistent, enthusiastic July sun. We get the full harvest moon, shining over the fields with its gift of extra light to gather the grain.
September can be such a scattered month; cold and brisk one morning, making us yearn for slippers and cozy blankets, and then the next, a sweltering 80 degree day that has us ready to head to the swimming hole. That's what this month is all about--change and transition, and how to weather it gracefully...
I mostly remember the cool, dark mornings that turned, slowly, into day through the high evergreen canopy. We'd left well before dawn and were walking uphill through a forest of mature spruce with tracts of larch and hardwoods. Come fall, these would become golden veins running down the mountainside, but now everything was a deep green-black, and smelled like fairytale:
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) loves the sun and reaches across wide sections of the meadow during the peak days of summer... the herb’s yellow flowers, small and clustered into intense bursts of color, signal that transition from the growth of spring to the fullness of the hot months. Here we are! The time of thunderstorms and cicadas, hot nights and fireflies.
It's summertime, and as herbalists, it's our favorite time of year. Everyone moves at a slower, more relaxed pace, and we spend more time outside being active, enjoying the lush paradise of the outdoors. We're eating fresh food straight from our gardens, and local farms, and our favorites herbs, and flowers are blooming.
Italy was not the first place where humans domesticated grains. By all accounts, this happened in China or India about ten thousand years ago with millet and spelt. This was followed closely by barley cultivated in the fertile floodplains of the land we now call Iraq....
When we stop to consider how much our physical frame and physiological systems endure for even a moderate walk around town (coordination, tendon stretching, impact buffering, blood sugar changes, and more), it’s remarkable that human beings perform so well when engaged in physical activity! Good pre- and post-workout nutrition is crucial, as quality fuels provide a lot more than just energy to our bodies, but beyond eating well, herbal support can address three key areas that are important for athletic types and for anyone who is even moderately active...
If you are looking to spend more time outside connecting to nature--growing herbs is a great place to start, and the benefits of gardening are plenty! The health of our bodies not only come from what we put into them, but also from what we experience around us.