Late spring is my favorite time of year. The plants are in their full glory and the mountains that surround my beautiful little town are radiating green. I am amazed at how many shades of green plants come up with. I look at a single tree and must see twenty different variations of emerald, lime, teal, olive, and jade to the deepest shades of forest green.
These rich colors fill some deep, wild part of me. The chlorophyll that makes these colors also allows plants to absorb energy from sunlight, called photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is similar to hemoglobin, a component of the human red blood cell. Coincidence? Seems more like the intelligence of nature to me.
Plants are healing in many ways. Just being in my garden or walking in the woods grounds me to my center and reminds me of my connection to life and the earth. Plants remind me that we are all in this big, painful and indescribably beautiful life together. Truly, we are there for each other, the plants and us. Yes, take that in. The plants are there for each of us, and each of us is there for them. One of the simplest ways to think about this connection is through our gas exchange with plants. Plants make oxygen as part of their photosynthesis process. We breathe in that oxygen, essential for our existence, and breathe out carbon dioxide, our own waste gas. Carbon dioxide is essential for the plants. Beautiful, no?
These green colors that the plants make, or “The Green” as I like to call them, nourish me in a way that no other color of green can. By the end of the long Montana winter, I am starving for my first spring greens, not just eating the wild dandelion or lamb’s quarters that bless my yard each year, but also yearning for The Green, those colors that feed my soul.
I store up The Green through the summer, my eyes constantly searching it out. I soak it in and hold it close to my heart. I especially love to revel at The Green as the sun gets lower in the sky in these long Montana summer evenings. It glows. It takes my breath, fills my eyes and later, it will sustain me through the frozen, white winter.
Get out there, friends. Soak in The Green.
© Elaine Sheff, Clinical Herbalist 2015
About the Author:
The author of several books on herbal medicine and healing, clinical herbalist Elaine Sheff has been passionate about sharing herbal knowledge for over 25 years. Her latest book is Naked: Botanical Recipes for Vibrant Skin and Healthy Hair. Elaine is the Co-Director of Green Path Herb School, located in Missoula, MT, where she strives to inspire and empower students and clients to remember their connection to the earth, the plants and their own healing process. As a certified Instructor of the Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness Methods, Elaine has helped many couples to avoid or achieve pregnancy naturally. An artist and writer, Elaine has written numerous articles about her family’s journey with epilepsy and a special needs child. You can often find her bent over an herb in her garden or marveling at small flowers in mountain meadows with her husband and sons.