What is love? Is it a feeling that only we humans experience or is it a force within the universe? Surely it must be the latter and because of that we humans feel it as does the rest of creation. Animals feel love for their young – just listen to cows lamenting when their calves have been taken from them; watch birds as they tenderly encourage their young from the nest; notice how one tree in a copse or woodland is affected with disease, (as that one tree will sacrifice itself ) whilst the others are healthy. Consider the abundance we receive from nature on a daily basis and on many levels.
Apple Tree in Blossom
There are different types of love and today I would like to talk about Mother love. We call the earth our mother – Mother Earth; we call nature Mother Nature. Why is that? Perhaps because deep down, somewhere in our genetic history or memory we KNOW that the Earth IS our mother, that Nature IS our mother. How do we know that?
Mullein – soft and velvety
We know it because we can engage our senses. We can smell the scents of Nature, we hear the bird song and animal calls. We are in awe at the majesty of an ancient tree or at the power of the ocean on a stormy day. The plant world also supplies us with everything we need to survive – food, medicine, shelter, clothing, defence, tools, fuel, beauty… The list goes on.
Horsetail and Dock
Many of the plants people regard as weeds are, in fact, an offering of an abundance of food or medicine or both from our Mother.
The humble Nettle for example, is a pharmacopoeia of medicinal and nutritive properties as well as providing fibre for a textile that many said was softer than linen yet very hard wearing. Uniforms were made from nettle during the first and second world wars. Nettle also provides us with food for our crops if we make a liquid fertiliser.
Silverleaf in Flower
There is so much evidence within Nature that informs us that we are experiencing a mother’s love. What does a mother do? She demonstrates her love to her child by feeding him or her, by clothing and keeping the child warm, by providing all kinds of beautiful things to help the child’s spirit to grow. She nurtures the physical and the emotional parts of the child and demonstrates generosity and kindness. If the child becomes sick she cares for it until healing takes place.
A mother’s love is unconditional. Even when her love is not returned or is rejected she is determined to do what she can for her child. As for Mother Nature, although we cover her body with concrete and cement and spray her offerings with poison, she remains resolute and still provides us with proof of her love.
We have all seen the humble Dandelion break through tarmac and concrete in cities and towns!
The abundance offered to us by Mother Earth demonstrates that the universe is full of love. She wants us to survive and be happy, hence the beauty of Nature – the scents and sounds, It is not just the food and medicine or the shelter and clothing or the fuel and tools she offers. She also offers us simple, well being. Nature herself is of great benefit to us on many levels not least, (as has been recently proven), to our mental health.
All of these photographs are of wild plants, “weeds” that are growing in my garden. All of them have medicinal qualities. I see them as an example of Mother Earth’s love for us and so I gratefully accept the gifts. I harvest them and use them as medicine and food and I thank Mother Earth for her generosity. Many’s the time that a plant has arrived, just when you need it.
There are so many, many other plants that I cannot mention here. There are also field plants and hedge plants growing near by. If you would like to know more about the power and wisdom of local plants, please sign up for the workshop on Saturday 3 June and you might just be surprised at the abundance on your doorstep!!