Closer to Home

Closer to Home

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.

8 Responses to Closer to Home

  1. Captivating story! Very beautiful and child-eyed! Thank you for this JoAnne. I too have been meandering a lot recently in the woods and meadows and have had many visitors. Magic everywhere!

  2. Your sage story brought tears to my eyes. How true that what were often looking for is nearby. I’m reminded of the Sufi poet Rumi: You wander from room to room looking for the diamond necklace that is already around your neck.

  3. I can smell Sage, my sweet friend; and, feel her cleansing properties. Thank you for your grounding words.

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