Wildcrafting is about being open and flexible. When I head out with the agenda to harvest, I rarely come home with a full pack. I find my timing is off, the plants aren't in the proper stage, or they respond with a "no" when I ask. When I allow myself to engage with nature, nibbling, tasting, sniffing, touching as I wander, I am often gifted a bountiful harvest. On these occasions, I am filled with such a sense of gratitude, humbled by the natural world's abundance and generosity.
First and foremost, I feel I am a steward of the lands I harvest from. More often, I am spending time connecting with these places than I am gathering. I watch the plants stands and survey their health. Each year is different depending on our weather patterns and pests. I harvest in an area that I have gratefully called home for all of my life. Forming deep roots and connections to the mountains filled with fir and cedar, foothills covered in aromatic sage, deserts brilliant with the shocking red blooms of ocotillo and bright yellow-flowered chaparral. Familiarity with the cycles of the seasons, moons, and plants offers a depth of appreciation for the uniqueness of each place I visit.
Fall is one of my favorite times to wander. The energy shift is evident as the plants begin to move their energy back into their roots for fall. Moving out of the intensity of summer into the shadowed subtleties of fall, the perfume of the last few rose petals wafting through the brisk morning air signals the rosehip's arrival, the final push of sugar to their tiny fruits. The scent of the rotten apples, below the one feral tree, indicates their peak has passed. One small wild strawberry, the very last, is a delicate fragrant gift with sweetness unlike any other.
I am so grateful for these places, the spots where time doesn't matter. Sitting on a granite slab under an ancient oak becomes the only priority. These moments are so healing and necessary on a deep, primal level. The chances to reconnect to my roots, my beginnings, and to ultimately, my end. These are the places where my creativity flows, the ideas for new crafts to connect folks with these sacred plants and spaces.
It is these moments that I try to capture in the products I create. I wanted to bring a bit of nature into our daily rituals to remind people of all things' interconnectedness. I craft my products with wild plants that I lovingly and respectfully harvest. I want to offer people who may not have the opportunity or ability to crawl through sage and wander through mountains the chance to experience these places for a moment each day.
Rooted deeply in love, all of the things I create have the intention of health and kindness within them. Intended to encourage us all to slow down and cultivate our inner compassion. What better time to do this than through the daily routine of body care and grooming? Touch has profound effects by merely directing the movement of heart energy and love to areas we are tending.
After harvest, I spend the next several days in communion with the plant gifts. Douglas fir is infused into oil for magical creations like "wildling" and distilled into an aromatic hydrosol as an energy clearing mist. The cedar is destined for the still as well. The branches soak for a day to allow them to soften and release their aromatics. Rosehips will be dried and added to the triple rosehip soap. Chokecherries will create a beautiful cordial just in time for the cold winter months. Gorgeous elderberries are the foundation of an immune-boosting syrup. I will add some of the rosehips and perhaps hawthorn as well. The bits and pieces left, the fir needles, a few leaves of mugwort, some rosehips, a couple turkey tails, will all be fermented into a probiotic foresty brew.
For all of you who support what I do, I thank you. I encourage you to find your own sacred spaces and sacred plants to connect with. It is remarkable what can be heard in moments of silence with an open heart.