About once a week I travel the 40 minutes out to where my family’s ranch is located, to harvest medicinal native plants. I had been looking forward to this trip because it had been a few weeks since I had last felt its solstice due to the holidays. I had a late start to the morning, and arrived out there right before noon.
There was some paperwork that had to get done before I could walk among the plants (yes….I do have to work out there, too). I sat with my father at an old moldy picnic table on our cabin porch, downwind to the comforting smell of his cigar. As he reviewed the inventory of 4 native plant companies, we talked about plants. Simultaneously, I scrolled through tens of thousands of pictures he had on his computer of the ranch. Some dated back to when we first got it. The bittersweet pictures of us young kids with shovels in our hands were interspersed throughout the years. I was compiling a folder of “the best” ranch pictures that I was going to save and possibly use on my website. Watching the years go by on iPhoto, I saw my son re-born and re-grow up on the ranch, driving the tractor on my brother’s lap before he could walk and fixing the road before he was mature enough to understand why it needed to be fixed. Amongst the nostalgia, I found what I was looking for; some of the best medicinal plant photographs out there, quality comparing to reference books. Scrolling down through one of the many controlled burns we have on the ranch, I almost missed the blood red pedals of the native medicinal Cardinal Flower. I stopped, enlarged it, and engaged my father in some more “medicinal plant talk”. I mentally noted where he vaguely remembered the photos being taken, and saved the ones I was looking for to later be transferred to my computer. Continue reading The Willow’s Smile