“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
I had been dreaming of wildcrafted blackthorn and hawthorn for the longest time, I wanted to find them and bring them home with me, invite them in, experience them, meet them in person and see the majesty of who they are. I know Oak, I know Yew but I was only acquainted with the dry materials of the hedges of my ancestors. My small blackthorn trees are yet to mature, they grow slowly but comfortably in my garden but I did not know their wildness. So one Sunday I grabbed my fellow enthusiast gardener (also known as Mum) and we headed to a plant show about an hour away. To my delight, after the plant show (yes I came home with a boot load of plants), with careful exploration, I discover the fruit-laden, wild growing hawthorn and blackthorn, interspersed with wild plum and rosehip and a great discovery of the bright orange firethorn. My heart beat, and as I ask for permission, I could feel them reach out to me, curious yet open
There is a sense of quiet as I walk among the trees, these ancient-minded hedges carrying the DNA of their ancestors from across the pond. I can feel their energy, they whisper quietly in the late afternoon sun and I wonder at their majesty, the secrets they must hold; and then I sadly wonder at the knowledge, the lost medicine the hedges hold. We are no longer in touch with nature, we no longer hear her cry or understand that we are nature, we are part of the whole; I see the hedges laden with hips, berries and haws and see that we no longer understand the ancient language of the trees. We no longer know the medicine and the knowledge that kept our ancestors alive, kept them healthy, is lost to so many. I see it as I wildcraft, that if we remembered what the hawthorn, the rosehip and the blackthorn could do, the hedges before me wouldn’t be laden, they would be almost bare because we would be embracing the medicine and magic and healing ourselves once again in the way of our ancestors.
So I bring home my afternoon harvest and begin to divide it, sloes in brandy – some dried for magical use, hawthorns to be dried for medicinal use, plums set aside for a small jam and as I process my efforts I thank the land for the bounty it provides. It is almost the secret that only a few share, we know the land, we know what can be found and what can be shared. Somehow, in amongst the craziness of life, there is still the beating heart of the land, waiting for us to once again beat with Her.