The Optimistic Potential of Every Blooming FlowerMay 08, 2023
Some things are still right with this world.
The stars still walk their songlines each night. The peepers still remember the ancient hymns of pond and earth muck. And everywhere old friends are emerging from the ground, often in the exact same places they left. I feel honored that they agree to meet me in such vulnerable circumstances, their layers of fragile freshness not yet fully unfurled. What energy it takes to move one’s body up and out of the ground.
Out of all of the springtime precious ones, I feel particularly drawn to Bloodroot, and the look of her body as she clutches her leaf blanket around her. In the crisp mornings, her leaf is like a grandmother quilt of protection that she seems hesitant to release. It is only with the coaxing warmth of the sun’s rays that she gives consent to open the altar of her milky flowers.
As a myrmecochorous plant, Bloodroot made an agreement long ago with Ant. In a circular dance of ancient mutualism, Bloodroot offers her fatty seeds to Ant, who in turn disperses these seeds locally while also feeding them directly to its larvae. Babies feeding babies.
Bloodroot has been used for who knows how long by the First Peoples of the Northeastern US to dye baskets and make medicine. Spotting Bloodroot’s unique posture low to the ground, I have come to see her as a small grandmother emerging from the earth to be lovingly used by human grandmothers. All the while, underground portals are opened by bright crimson roots, her limbs entangled with nearby hostas, rhododendrons, and running mycelium, alabaster clean in the muddied dark.
Spring is awash in stories. We tend to care about things more as a story, especially a story whose roots somehow wind themselves into our personal landscape. Touch our own skin somewhere, make themselves a part of our own story.
Storytelling was one of my favorite parts of my recent conversation with Carina Lyall, host of the Becoming Nature podcast. Carina described storytelling as the “wildest sense of truth-telling,” that even when we don’t know the old stories of the land where we live, we can know the many smaller truths of the beings around us. Sparrow has his truth, Violet her truth, Hawthorn has their truth of what it is like to be in the world. We can practice letting ourselves be opened wide by more truths than answers.
I also wanted to share my one-year anniversary episode of the Woman Who Rubs the Mountain podcast, a reflection on why we live where we do (out of all the places on the planet, why here?) Every place I’ve lived has taught me a lesson or guided me in some way. “Places, above all, reflect us back to ourselves. More than this, they teach us the many ways we might become in the world” (Sharon Blackie). In what ways does the land where we live already know who we are, what we could be, what we are moving towards?
I just wanted to say thank you for being in these living, breathing inquiries with me. I appreciate you allowing me to share what I am loving with my whole heart and I hope it brings you closer to your own tendernesses and intimacies. In these days of erupting green life force, may you become undone by the beauty around you.
With love and lively bird song,
(Excerpt of the May 2023 newsletter). If you would like to receive my monthly love letters, click here.