Sunday, August 30, 2015


Rain has come. When I woke this morning, eyes and head still stuffy from dreams and congestion I found a link from a good friend. "read" was the subject. The link was this one, and my introduction to the word, and emotion from the Portuguese, Saudade.

The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness. A. F. G. Bell In Portugal of 1912

As is true so often for me, and probably for many Humans, another People's language may hold the sound and meaning for a human feeling that is not expressed in the language one is used to hearing, and using. The writer and storyteller me depends upon that bridgework of crossing borders of culture and language to make sense of life. Expression is my art, but, it is also the way to tap the sugar in me; the sugar as in the sugar of Maple's whose first instructions were 'feed the people in seasons when they need it.'

Being writing and reader of words, the gifts of metaphoric sugar come from the intuitive search for meaning. Some way to put meanings together linking science with poetry, or myth with medicine plants, learning through the process how to listen and hear (two very similiar, but different verbs) the language being spoken.

I am reading more Robin Wall Kimmerer. This time I read her first book Gathering Moss. A smaller edition of her writing, started it appears, when she was still married to the photographer who later leaves her and their two young girls when the responsibilities got too heavy for him. The book Gathering Moss is a thin paperback with much more 'science' than her second book Braiding Sweetgrass. But within the cover of that thin book are drawings done by her father, and stories that teach me about Moss -- the most Ancient of Plant on Earth's land skin.

The bridge-maker RWK scientist, mother, poet, indigenous Potawatomi woman embroiders (one of her favorite words, used often in Braiding Sweetgrass) the ways and culture of small in her daily life with Moss. From RWK I am soothed and comforted to know I can step out my tiny-rooms home and the medicine I need will have grown nearby, precisely because I am in need.

Will I notice? This summer, this season of being Human, I am. Clues arrive from here and there. My family gives me messages via this world of the Internet. Between us there are medicine words. I pick them off the screen and follow the links to other places. Remedy for smoke inhalation leads to an Ode to Peach. I read. I digest. I step outside.

Peaches have born hundreds of fruit this year. We pick them, but can't keep up with the ripening. But we do pick many, and eat them. Others we cut and freeze for later. But, something else happens when the language and culture of medicine in plants makes connection with Human. "There is more here," they tell me. I read the links, I see the connection, I walk across that bridge. I pick the leaves.

"There's something deeply restorative about Peach that I can't perfectly describe, something that helps to heal hurt caused by grief or loss, or anger that stems from a deep wound. It works very well with it's cousin Rose for these uses, especially if there's any depression or sexual component involved. Where Hawthorn seems to work better for the raging grief caused by rejection or acute loss, Peach is often most specific where there's some level of obsession or chronic focus on something lost or long awaited for, and that obsession manifests as ongoing irritation, tension leading to burnout and consuming sadness. That's not say that Peach doesn't make a fabulous general nervine, it certainly does. Peach leaf tea is a traditional Southern/Appalachian remedy for hysteria, anxiousness and nervousness.  It's quite safe and is particularly helpful for children, pregnant women and those of sensitive or delicate constitutions. It's cooling, slightly moistening, relaxing and deeply restorative for burned out people still in the process of burning themselves out. This includes many peri or currently menopausal women with hot flashes, irritation, emotional liability and general hot-temperedness."Anima Center

Three-leaf Peach tea ... these are the just turned Autumn-color leaves that barely cling to the branches
 I write what I call medicine stories because the two words together spell remedy for me as I live with the often everyday experience of longing for being home in Hawaii. The feeling and comfort, the culture and the language are 'just' a plane ride away. But, the distance too far, too often. The practical and logistical reality of travel, and safe housing? More than can be maneuvered in my body.

Still there is a way to enjoy and dream my way through story and medicine so I piece together words, images and potential. I pick the Peach. Eat the fruit, and experiment with teas for a strength that comforts the Saudade of the day. It changes this feeling of Saudade, and so just as the language of homeopathy speaks, adapt and adjust as needed. Physician heal thy self.

There's a new shade of hibiscus over my ear. It influences me. I listen to the possibilities, and listen for the medicine giving me instructions. And the most important part, I almost forgot, I say thank you, mahalo. I am grateful!

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