Once Upon A Time in the Woods Part 1

 

 Once upon a time there was a girl that liked to grow medicinal herbs.  One day she went for an herb walk.  She learned how to make salve from a Grandmother.  Afraid that she would be consumed by the big bad wolf of consumption and working for the man, she moved to the woods.  She lived in a yurt in those woods for years and learned to make medicine for her family.  Many nights were spent with books - reading by candlelight, or chopping tough, hard roots with her Mom's old kitchen knife.  Her kitchen was outside, her bed inside next to a wood stove.  She had no running water, no electricity, not even a phone.  She built a sauna to keep her clean and healthy, she hauled water by hand from the creek to water her garden and all of her flowers.  She would load her picnic basket of recycled baby food jars filled with green goo made of chickweed, plantain, St. John's wort and calendula.  She would put on her favorite dress and her favorite scarf, call her dog Tita and duck out of the door of the yurt and softly walk along the mossy path in the woods.  Wild mint, snow berries, wild carrot, teasel, sudan grass, nettle, blackberries, and St. John's wort all beckoned to her. She would grab her old Felco from her holster and start to pick.  First offering a little something to the plants - a little bit of tobacco, some dried cherries, a sip of water, or maybe some of her own hair.  "Well I went down to the river to pray..." she would sing as she thought about the plants and ask who would give themselves as medicine.  The Swainson's thrush warbled from somewhere in the big leaf maple tops.  The nuthatches hopped in the hawthorne, the flickers pecked the old cedar, the robins were raucous as they consumed red huckleberries.  The sun warmed her golden hair covered by the blue scarf with peonies on it that she picked up at farmer's market in Provence.  The breeze smelled of blackberries and warm grass - oh now it's mint and mud.  Tita took off after a squirrel trilling from a nearby moss covered trunk.  Her heart filled with immense joy, and gratitude to her plant friends - some old, some new.  She would continue to Mill Creek and admire a giant banana slug crossing an old log.  She would stop and ask it where it was going with such determination and sliminess.  Slow, sluggy antennae would slowly unfurl and then only one would curl, transmitting some form of response.  "Please stay out of my lettuce" she would ask as she handed the slug a downy, soft, thimbleberry leaf.  Along the creekside, old Grandad Crawdad was in last night's dinner bowl.  It was pecked clean.  She began to play rock dog with Tita as she skipped rocks into the creek. Tita would playfully pirouette and catch the tiny pebbles, spitting them out before her hind legs were back in the creek.  Along the path she would journey, taking her goods to market.  One day, the big bad wolf appeared as she was walking up the creek.  "When are you going to grow up and do something with your life?"  Not really knowing what that meant, she asked the wolf to explain.  "You are 30 years old.  You aren't married, you don't own a home - you don't have insurance or a 401K."  Somewhere, deep inside of her, an old voice echoed the wolf's sentiment.  She wasn't sure where it came from, but it seemed to come from the same place as "you are not good enough".  So she dropped her basket and she ran.  She ran and ran all the way to a big city...