After receiving several requests to share my opening remarks at the Allies for Plants and People in June…here they are…I hope you find some inspiration to connect with others, including the plants themselves.
Opening Remarks at Allies for Plants and People, June 9, 2018:
Some of my closer friends, who know that I have been more than a little short on time lately, have questioned me as to why I am hosting another conference in addition to my annual event, the MAWHC. Even I asked myself that more than a few times in the past several weeks, as organizing an event such as this, the same time as the planting season on my family farm is building to a frenzy…well…that WAS I thinking?! Am I crazy??
My good friend Andrea Reisen recently sent me a little note: ‘It can be hard to do what the plants ask us to do,” she wrote, “and then try and make it all work for us too.’ This statement startled me. Do plants actually ASK us to do stuff? Do they ask us to step out of our daily rat race to tend to their needs? I can’t really answer that question, but I can tell you what led me here today and you can put the pieces together as you see fit.
Over the past several years I have observed with a great measure of sorrow how keenly words can cut. Divisive lines between people are brutally struck with words, whether spoken aloud, written with style or sent in a single tweet. At times, the air seems laden with impending doom and I lie sleepless, worrying for my children’s future.
I’m not the bravest person I have ever met, and so I might not make the boldest activist, or the most outspoken champion for change. Instead I tend to hold my angst inside and then feel hopeless, or helpless to make a difference when faced with injustices.
It was on one of these dark, restless nights when I realized that my best healing work happens when I bring a group of like-minded, plant-loving people together. With the help of everyone here we have created a green haven. A home of sorts. A place where we can breathe more freely and where the plants can have their say. Here we are creating a community that supports each other and turns to the plants with a humble ear to listen and learn. Rather than clamoring for attention we seek to understand the workings of these plants and by attempting to do so,we are taking medicine of the purest potency.
We cannot possibly fathom how far these tendrils will stretch, and how bleakness and hate can be transformed into love.
Guido Masé, one of our speakers today, said once,
He intimates that plants actually take care of us by inserting themselves into a complex and beautiful biological dance that happens within us. One, he states poetically, “that rivals misty sunrises, egrets and fish, live oaks and palm trees” and that is taking place every day in our every cell as DNA is methodically turned into proteins that become our physical shape on a moment-to-moment basis.
This microcosmic relationship of photo nutrient and human DNA is a poetic expression of the potential healing in the macrocosm, relationships of human to human, community with community, culture with culture and possibly beyond.
They teach us that interaction with each other is essential to survival and interacting with love is essential to life.
Inspired by the work of my mentors David Winston and Rosemary Gladstar, as well as United Plant Savers, and inspired by the many dedicated teachers, mentors, gardeners, medicine makers and organizations in the herbal renaissance, this event today strives to create space for mentorship, land and plant stewardship, with an inner mission to cultivate alliances between plants and people, and between people and people. We are grateful for all who are participating in this expanding green movement which invites perspective on the transformation of modern health and health care in this country.
Registration for our next event, the MidAtlantic Women’s Herbal Conference, September 28-30 is open. Featuring Rocio Alarcon, Maia Toll, Kathi Keville, Kathleen Maier, Tammi Sweet and more.