My first destination within Ireland was Galway. When I worked there in ’05, Galway really felt like home to me. But when I returned for a couple weeks in ’07, I felt out of place – like revisiting your old college campus and realizing that most of your acquaintances have cycled out, plus you don’t have a purposeful reason to be there anymore. This year, though, I was surprised by what made me feel really at home: The plants.
Every morning I recognized new herbs on the path from my friends’ house into town. First yarrow, then plantain, then St. John’s wort… During the Apprentice program at Sage Mountain, these were plants I was too shy to admit I had little idea how to find. We’d walk by some plantain on an ID walk, and the teacher would casually talk about the parallel veins and healing properties of the plant, figuring we all knew what plantain looked like, since it’s so common. I nodded and figured I’d look it up later, so it wasn’t until my trip to Ireland that plantain and I were properly “introduced.” It was so much fun to see these plants – which I’ve been using dried in teas and oils and tinctures – growing live and wild all over the place!