let a hundred flowers bloom





The children and the dog run up ahead on the trail;

… but in a few moments, I hear my son’s tread. I look up and he is tripping down the dirt pathtrail, a bright spark of cool hue. He tells me now: “Mama, I can’t leave you alone in the woods. You’re vulnerable. … Owls, large legendary mythical birds. … Maybe Bigfoot.”

A large, buzzing insect careens close and circles us. He stops. Completely still. I step ahead, turn, and take a picture:


Then I hold him close and kiss him to think he was protecting me. In the woods. Not from mountain lions, which really do run around here. From OWLS. Et cetera.

At the slower parts of the streams: Phoenix catches several newts; she is swift, and gentle.

Phoenix Catches A Newt

Phoenix Catches A Newt


My daughter sighs of the skunk cabbage – seen above in flames of yellow – “That stink – that glorious stink.”


3 thoughts on “let a hundred flowers bloom

  1. I was just reading somewhere about skunk cabbage, being the plant that sustained some Native Peoples (really, I don’t think it did…I think this is just legend) until the Salmon arrived. And then the Salmon, to thank it for saving the people, blessed it with a pipe and some garments (made of Cedar? I can’t remember) and basically bestowed some beautiful things on it for being just a radical and amazing plant. I think in reality, it is used to line steaming baskets and maybe used to make some clothing even. It is Bear Medicine, so it’s a strong plant with a strong personality and seems fitting that she loves it. I believe it’s a great respiratory medicine but I would need to check that out and I’m lazy right now.
    Salamanders. How I love them.

  2. @BexG
    I am so interested to know more about skunk cabbage! Of course I’m thinking it is harmful/unethical to remove any plants from the trail… I think? Nels wanted some trillium pretty bad but we decided to leave it.

    Thank you as always for your comment!

  3. So, I like this author’s take on SC: http://greenmanramblings.blogspot.com/2010/03/skunk-cabbage-new-england-bear-medicine.html

    As for removing plants from the trail – I have two main things that come up for me: (1) Is there any chance of chemical toxicity in the area and (2) What does the plant say when I ask it’s permission? Certainly, if it’s the only trillium on the trail, that’s a big no to me…but if there are many, and if they don’t mind when you sincerely ask, then that’s what I go with. I just did a lot of wildcrafting the last few weeks and I thinned some nettle patches and politely took some cottonwood buds while making sure to leave plenty for the tree (which was kind enough to offer me a few low branches).

    I think that the majority human beings, well, at least Westerners, can be very disrespectful to nature, expecting her to give everything up at their whim. I try to find gratitude/reverence for everything around me and find a way to replace what I take. I think that’s important.

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