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  • Mj Pettengill

Who Put the Wild in Wilderness?

Updated: Feb 24


Strophes Et Rimes

I am grateful to have spent hours in the great outdoors. No more snow. The rains have stopped. The ground was dry enough to begin to assess the aftermath of a harsh, long winter. Yes, as far as winters go, it was severe.


There was a great deal of damage to the elderberry trees and roses. They are hardy, and with attention (removal of dead limbs and parts), they will recover.


There was a considerable amount of (devastating) construction on this property over the past two years. Last year I was in shock at the realization of the losses sustained, with so much literal removal of the earth (entire gardens and wild sections went under the 'dozer.')


So, this year, with the shock and mourning behind me, I set out to find the flowers growing sideways from a new access roadside, piles of waste and disturbed earth... I am going to gather them at the appropriate time and rebuild homes — gardens —and sacred space for them.


The mullein won the race as far as showing up and being in full growth mode for weeks, right through the snow. I won't talk about the crocuses and snowdrops, etc. — the bulb plants are popping up and shouting out to me. They will be remembered and rescued from being lost for good.


The mugwort is hurrying along as it does, eager to be the most prolific plant on the property. I spent a great deal of time removing last years stalks, along with ferns and other grasses and plants from one of the stone walls that was in danger of being reclaimed.


Everything looks a bit exhausted from the long winter, but the promise of birth and rebirth does not give it permission to fall into victimhood. Our Mother carries on, as most of us know.


I was surprised when a hummingbird messenger arrived. For this area, here in the fields of Marigold Moon, it is usually closer to a week from now when they return. I have enjoyed a pair of mallard ducks doing a fly by at the pond and a painted turtle sitting on the large rock in the middle calling for the sun.


The barred owls are wooing each other just beyond the edge of the woods. A beautiful broad-winged hawk has been flying overhead, which is common here as well, and the crows continue to watch from above. The birds are so busy, it is almost too much to name them. I will mention that I put out cracked corn for the turkeys to help cut down on the ticks.


Speaking of ticks, so far I have pulled off five of them. I use organic repellant, wear long pants, cover my arms, and legs. It's the way it is. We go from one extreme to another here.

The black flies are waiting their turn. I tried to get as much done as possible today because once the black flies show up, I do tend to retreat.


This is the time for fresh spring tonics and roots, such as dandelion, primrose, and burdock. And, don't forget the fiddleheads. On my walk, I caught sight of several patches of white, light, and dark purple violets. They are great for syrups and the leaf and roots for medicine in late summer and early fall.


There is so much happening out there. I even reconnected with the chipmunks who either remember me or their mother gave them the low-down on the hip lady with the nuts and seeds.


I look forward to the sweetness of both lilac and forsythia blossoms in my tea. It's all coming together, hard to believe I was snowed in like cement less than a month ago.


I'm facilitating many workshops this summer: Wild Plant Walks, Ancestral Healing, Transformative Writing / Journaling, the Art of Wild Tea, Community Circles and Ceremonies, and various historical events related to my work.


The third book in my Historical Fiction Series is scheduled for release (DOWN FROM THE TREE).


This is an exciting time for those of us who live amidst these radical seasons.


Leave a comment about your hopes and dreams during the birth and rebirth of the upcoming season.


Be wild. Be well.


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