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  • Mj Pettengill

Marya of the Wood: Where the Sun Shines Through

Updated: Jul 20


I weeds weeds. I know that it’s a challenge for many to understand, but I’m that woman. While last summer, the pond dried up for the first time known to me, now it’s about to overflow. I’m not complaining, for I have come to love the rain more than I remember. It’s not that I didn’t love the rain before. It gives me an excuse to retreat into my cave—the creative womb. This sense, much like a winter feeling, is not my nature. I honor cycles and seasons.

No matter the weather, I go out each day to greet it, connecting with my feathered, furred, and leafy neighbors. The changing of the guard—insects—offers a better experience.


With basket in hand, I walk through the meadow first and then go up the hill. Many familiar flower blossom heads, drenched, are perilously drooped. I gather some plants for making medicine, but it requires a great deal of drying, and everything sticks to my fingers. This is a cue that it’s meant to be. I pluck the withered flowers of the St. John’s Wort so that it continues to bloom and that it does.

Despite this rainy season, many plants thrive, especially in the majestic weed garden where I let it do what it wants. I must admit that I will remove a few plants that are not allowing others to emerge from time to time. This is the exception to the rule. So, this majestic place is sacred. It’s where Our Mother is given the freedom to express Herself. Whatever wishes to emerge shows up. Going into this realm is transformational. I don’t know what to expect. I am familiar with the well-established ones, but there are always surprises.

I believe that the plants are ecstatic, as is evident in their appearance. Many are brighter and healthier than I have ever seen. For instance, yarrow, various daisy family members, fleabane, and others are taller than me. Given the opportunity, they imply balance in a world that has lost its equilibrium. I find great comfort in this space. Some may consider it chaos, but to me, it is art in its finest form.

I am more than wild; I live on a farm, growing organic food, fruit, and a handful of culinary herbs. These spaces are well-behaved and not without their share of helpers—often known as weeds. It is wise to have some weeds in with them. The ancient, wild plants have benefits—a way to communicate, warding off various pests, offering shade or moisture in times of drought. Chickweed loves to grow in moist, well-established garden beds, as does purslane. Both are loaded with health benefits, optimum for making medicine, and they are edible.

A few days ago, after the rain, I was outside. It was an abundant gathering. My basket was overflowing, and the sun felt good on my shoulders. I was on the hill, sitting on the warm earth, enjoying the bird chorus, the chatter of a red squirrel, and a lovely bee that was ahead of me on each blossom when it started to rain. At first, it was a sprinkle, and then the skies opened up.

My first instinct was to dash into the house. I wanted to make sure that the plants did not get wet, and it’s what we do. Then I awakened to the fact that the rain felt good. There was no need to hide from it. I brought my basket into the greenhouse and returned to the shower. Memories of my children running in the rain emerged. I went back further to my own childhood when there were no filters. We enjoyed the moment for what it was.

When I finally went inside, my feet were blackened with mud, my clothes were stuck to my skin, and the rain dripped off my nose. How grateful I was to remember an earlier version of myself and welcome the downpour.

The next day, there was a showing of the sun, long enough to dry the blossoms, leaving sparkling jewels of droplets on the grass, leaves, and pine needles. I decided to visit the majestic wild place. So many new volunteers had emerged, filling my heart with joy.

I take this time to honor and celebrate my connection to Our Mother—Earth. This is what sees me through. This is where healing lies. When I looked up at the towering flowers and plants, free to express themselves as they are, I give thanks.

If you find yourself facing doubt in what seems dark or hopeless, go out and find those spaces where the bright golden sun shines through. Reclaim your wildness. You may be homesick, unknowingly disconnected from the land. It is yours to inhabit. Instead of grieving for what once was or fearing what might be, take off your shoes, find your roots, and follow them. Become a genuine part of what you were born into but may somehow have lost your way.