During our quarantining, may this story bring you some medicine…
My wild-harvesting quest carried me across state lines into the mountains of southern Colorado. Instinctively, I headed toward the red rocks which hold stories of the peoples who lived there in centuries past. I hoped to find Sage in the wilderness lands surrounding the sacred site.
Walking among the towering pines, I gave an offering to request permission to gather and asking for help with my search. I’m-looking-for-Sage became a silent chant, a drumbeat setting the rhythm for my quest.
I found feathers. I watched ravens and vultures coast high on the winds, and shared quiet companionship with rabbits and deer. Sitting among the ancient rocky ridges offered a healing embrace from my old friends. Yet Sage was nowhere to be found.
Late in the afternoon as I headed back to my car, my mind was consumed by distracting chatter. Had I come all this way only to return home empty-handed? Why hadn’t I consulted with an expert who really knows something about plants? Am I just wandering around following my heart and aimlessly getting off-track?
Slowed by the weights of doubt and disappointment, I stopped and stood still in the middle of the path. I breathed in the pines. I felt the earth beneath my feet. I remembered what I had come here to do.
“I’m searching for Sage,” I said out loud to the trees. “And Sage is searching for me,” I said with a smile, playing around. I loved this new possibility. Sage and me, we were both reaching out to meet up.
I walked on through the meadow, renewed in the spirit of the adventure. Something lying on the ground near a tree caught my attention. I leaned in to have a closer look. Nestled in the soil was a collection of bones bleached by the sun.
Beside the bones, right next to my foot, was a sage plant. Graceful stems of mint-green leaves reached out in all directions, soaking up the sun. I glanced around and saw another plant. Then a whole cluster. And then even more. Sage plants were flourishing in the meadow. How had I not seen them before?
Sage taught me something essential about manifesting. It’s a mutual thing. It’s embodied in connection. Manifesting is a birthing, a calling-into-existence, an intimate weaving of the choice and intent of everyone and everything involved. What we seek we will find when we know, without a doubt, that it too is seeking us – be it a plant or a friend or peace or love.
About a year after my wild-harvesting quest, I noticed my bundle of smudging herbs needed replenishing. There wouldn’t be time before the first frost to travel north to gather more Sage.
Hiking around the mesas near my house, I looked for other medicinal plants for a fall harvest. I walked along the pathway of the dry riverbed I called Mama Arroyo. She’s a wild curving passage through rocky ridges and desert soils shaped by rushing waters from monsoons and snowmelt. Many tributaries branched off and connected back with her.
I stopped to rest along a confluence of pathways I’d wandered through countless times. Lying down on warm sandy soils beneath turquoise skies, a particular shade of silvery green caught my eye.
There among the wildflowers and gnarled tree roots was a Sage plant. Graceful stems of mint-green leaves reached out in all directions, soaking up the sun. I looked around and found another Sage plant. Then a whole cluster. And then even more. How had I not seen them before?
Often what we are looking for is much closer to home than we think.