Saturday, March 6, 2010

bark, swords and nettles

"The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness."
— John Muir (1838 - 1914)

Today's dance was inspired by a massive group of sword ferns in the woods off the trail in a sunbeam that was filtering through the evergreen canopy. I had just purchased 3 large ferns for our garden yesterday and was told by the botanist at the nursery that these ferns take several years to grow into maturity to the size we often see in the forests... 4 - 5 years - wow! Apparently, ferns are an ancient species that date back 360 million years - fossils have imprints of ferns forever captured within them. I also found out that the indigenous people of this area used the rhizomes for food.

While bushwhacking towards them I was struck by a tall stump which had been hammered away by woodpeckers and had also lost chunks of it's bark.
I was intrigued by how bark can provide such protection for the tree as it is growing, but now, the covering was easily being penetrated. Next to the tree, the sword ferns, that although look sword-like, are really very pliable and flexible. While dancing with the ferns, they were dropping puffs of spores from the underside of their leaves that were dancing in the sun shafts.
Beside the sword ferns were newly uprising nettles and horsetails and this dance amongst the woodland plants reminded me of our interconnectedness to all things - that while alive the tree breathes in CO2 and exhales O2 for our benefit, and although now dead, the tree now provides food and shelter for winged ones and creepy crawlers.
I also find it so fascinating that although the nettles sting, there are many health benefits to ingesting them and that the stings from nettles can be reduced by rubbing the backs of the sword ferns on the stings or, the 'juice' from the horsetails can also be used... that the medicine for the sting grows right beside the plant itself... nature is amazing! Although not exactly a symbiotic relationship it sure has me wondering about why these species grow so close in proximity to one another...

"Some researchers claim that as much as 80% of the rainforest is symbiotic with something else, when those symbiotic relationships is lost, so is the rainforest! Since there are over an estimated 10 million species found in the rainforests, 80% means that 4 out of 5 creatures and plants would disappear without symbiosis, and that translates into millions of species vanishing." James Johnson

“Tug on anything at all and you'll find it connected to everything else in the universe.”
John Muir

Today was one of those days that smelled rich with humus and soil and new life... it was a day that felt so nourishing to the soul.

Thank you for viewing / reading. I hope you have been inspired in some way - perhaps to connect deeply to the wild plants where you live...


There is a film in the black space below:
Music: Sigur Ros
Filmed by Brooke
Please view my butoh mentor's beautiful blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

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