At this time of year Mother Nature is at her exuberant best. Open your door or window or sit on your balcony and see – she’s saying ‘look at me, I’m beautiful, I’m amazing, I’m full of energy, I’m loving you, caring for you, offering you herbs and trees and beauty and an amazing sound track and some exquisite perfumes – look at me, listen to me, don’t pass by without noticing, being aware of me will bring you a moment of peace, your heart may rise in joy as you hear my blackbird call from your rooftop in the evening. I know that even if you don’t notice, you feel better when you feel the energy flowing up through the trees dressing your apple tree in those gorgeous light pink blossoms or when you drive from one end of the country to the other noticing the yellow of my gorse on the hills, the white of the hawthorn in the hedges. Rejoice, be glad, connect with me, for you too are part of me’.
Mother Nature abounds in early summer and even if we are busily rushing from one thing to another, running for the train, charging to the car park, we are affected by her beauty, activity and energy.
Mother Nature offers us healing in every way – even the plants which we regard as weeds help us to feel better and many of them have been used by herbalists and healers through the ages to help patients with one ailment or another. Pissybeds was the common name for Dandelion, much hated by gardeners, but having a traditional use for fluid retention. Nettle, loved by our grandmothers, and put in soups to help purify the blood after a winter of eating rich heavy food or plantain growing wild at our roadsides and riversides traditionally used for catarrah and for ear problems. Hawthorn, our hedges full of the magic white flowers, thought to be unlucky to bring inside the house, has a traditional use as a mild heart tonic.
The trees also offer us Mother Naturs love and healing. Who can fail to be moved by the ascending glory of the White Chestnut in magnificent array in early summer – but she is not just a pretty face. The famous Harley St. specialist Dr. Edward Bach found that many trees had healing properties and in his philosophy and range of remedies offers White Chestnut as a remedy for Unwanted Thoughts and Mental Arguments. White Chestnut is included nowadays in remedies for helping the mind to become quite so we can fall asleep such as in Jan deVries Night Essence or Dr. Bach’s own Night Rescue. Nature is not wasteful as in the autumn those chestnut trees give us conkers from which is derived a remedy helpful to varicose vein sufferers.
Mother Nature lures us to wellbeing too with the amazing scents of some of her offerings. Honeysuckele is one of my all time favourite plants, the sweet smell of honeysuckle at dusk transports us to a place of exquisite beauty and tranquillity and Dr. Bach found it was a helpful remedy for those who dwell on the past.
Spearheaded by the healthfoodstores and with an awareness of the problems of our health system many are now taking better care of their health through eating a diet inclusive of more fruit and veg (Mother Nature again!), are joining walking or running groups, or have joined the ‘Grow Your Own Movement’. Even those living in apartments are energised by growing herbs such as Basil, Parsley and Thyme (a herb with a traditional use for coughs and chest congestion) in their window boxes.
We are indeed surrounded by the exuberance and joy of nature at this time of year. Looking and smelling this exuberance changes our days, uplifts us and increases our joy. As we have grown a little away from nature it is best that we don’t try to use the abundance of our hedges and green margins without some expert advice. There are different varieties of Mother Nature’s bounty and knowing which variety of a herb is beneficial and which is not, is important. It is also true that if we do use the tips of young green nettles to add to soup or mix with cabbage we need to know where they are sourced as many of our highways and byways are douced with chemicals to kill off the so-called weeds, or may be otherwise polluted. Happily, Dr. Bach, Dr. Stuart who makes a wonderful selection of herbal teas, Alfred Vogel and the Terra Nova brand, all provide wonderful ranges of herb and flower remedies in tea, tincture, capsule and tablet form through your local healthfoodstore. Happily also those working in the Irish Independent Healthfoodstore are well trained to give us the best possible advice on the herbs, trees or flowers which to suit our particular needs.
So take a walk on the wild side. Take a deep breath, pause for moment and listen, from MidSummer the birds quieten down and we won’t hear them again until another three seasons have passed. Notice the mammy feeding her babies in the nest, hear the blackbird calling to her mate, enjoy the abundance of golden dandelions on the grass verges, feel the joy of the exuberance of Mother Nature when she is at her peak in early summer. Together let us appreciate and enjoy the extraordinary energy of early summer, the exuberance and wonton abundance which is ours for free while we inhabit this bountiful earth.