A week ago, after what was thus far my favourite class ever, I met my friend Shana out in Joshua Tree national park for a spontaneous camping trip. Should you have the opportunity to go camping with a friend who is an veritable botany geek, I highly recommend it because you find out things like EXACT SPECIES of plants you'd never even think to identify down to specie level. You also spend an inordinate amount of time staring at said friend's back while she's hunched over the Jepson guide trying to determine whether the tubercles on a cholla are over or under 0.75 inches tall and you might go and wander and take photos of various cacti catching the light while she makes said determinations. Which brings me to one of my favourite truths about life: having people in your life who are dramatically different to you makes your life infinitely richer because you see things you would never have seen before.
We ate acorn flatbreads and posole over a fire, shared a bottle of cider, then went to bed. When completely wiped out from a weekend of putting one's all into teaching, lying on the earth in a silent and powerful place is quite possibly the most rejuvenative thing one can do. I lay there for hours, not falling asleep, sinking into the earth. I imagine, at times like this, that I'm in a cocoon, plugged in to something much bigger than me, bigger than humanity as a whole, bigger than anything I can possibly fathom.
What is grounding? Lots of people have opinions on the matter, but to me grounding right now has more to do with electrical currents and the way I feel like the electricity* in my body is being calmed by being attached to the earth. Sometimes the white noise of stress, work and city life can grow to such a cacophony that I have to get out of the city to feel as though I'm truly in touch with the earth again. After that I can drag that connection back with me, so that even here, sitting in my living room with the sounds of construction and traffic outside, I have that feeling of being nourished, connected, grounded. Its always there, just, sometimes the thread gets faint, harder to hold onto. This is actually why, FYI, when giving people herbal formulas that are directed at their 'spirit' I ask them to sit somewhere quiet and really feel for the energy of the formula the first few times. Once you can feel it, you can feel it anywhere, but for a while you need to purposely and determinedly reach through the white noise to grasp what it is you're looking for.
The wind picked up in the night, until it was all I could hear and feel, like sleeping in wind itself. The next morning as it grew light I, being an annoying morning person, leaped out of bed and grabbed my camera and went for a little hike to catch some photos of the sunrise. A storm had blown in; dark heavy clouds hung low over the horizon, brooding and black against the orange of the sunrise. Desert storm: fire meets water. Its one of those places on the edges of things, and the meetings of different worlds. Magic happens here and you can feel it in the air and on your skin. I stood on top of a hill watching the sun come up as the first big plops of rain started, smelled the creosote releasing its scent into the air, felt the wind whip the air into a frenzy, and gave thanks for the ineffable experiences that sometimes come rarely but often come one after the other like waves.
Later, Shana and I went to go and explore the wildflowers. And this is what inspired me, standing there, watching Shana's back as she hunched over her Jepson guide trying to key out another member of the Asteraceae** and looked across the desert floor at the abronias, evening primroses, the Joshua trees in flower, the mojave yuccas spilling their blooms out, and thought that this explosion really exemplifies what it so exciting to all of us about spring. That explosion of energy after a winter of conserving. The fervent reaching, the hope, the promise, the excitement. For May's surprise box, I am going to capture that explosion of energy in one place. Spring Fever body butter will be back, as will some other goodies made with spring blossoms, and the underlying frenzy and fervour of finally emerging from hibernation. Should you want to join in the fun, you can do so right HERE.
What about you? Wildflowers in your area? Fervent explosions of exciting things happening? Tell me more...
*nerves? Excess energy? I have no idea...
**WHAT SAINT-LIKE PERSON HAS THE PATIENCE FOR THIS?