Introducing us to the many medicinal plants we saw today was Alexis
Burnett, head instructor of Earth Tracks and guest instructor, Laura
Gilmour of Wild Muskoka Botanicals.
We stopped along the edge of a wetland and found many plants and
creatures along the way. Blue Flag Iris and Boneset grew near the
marsh along with many Cattails. As we discussed harvesting the pollen
of the cattails we spotted a frog. This wasn’t just a regular frog but
was two-toned! The frog was half blue and half grey-brown and was
patient with us and let us photograph and look at kin.
We found a rarer Skullcap flower and learned about it’s medicinal
properties and then found both False and True Solomon’s Seal right
next to each other. We had a thoughtful discussion about these two
plants, including their roots, young shoots and their berries-a
grizzly bear’s favourite fruit.
Another wetland along the trail had bright red Cardinal Flowers, so
tall and stately and the brightest, deep red you have ever seen. One
of the most beautiful of our local wildflowers, at least according to
this apprentice! You can also see a picture of White Snakeroot, a
plant that has many healing properties but is also quite toxic. It
can affect humans who eat the plant, but is also transmitted from the
milk of cows that consume the plant!
After a lunch off-trail, we changed gears. We did a quiet walk
through the forest in fox walk and owl eyes. Walking separately but
in a line, we had a neat experience of feeling the forest with our
feet, hearing the sounds, and smelling all the scents on the breeze.
After the walk we each found quiet spot and did a sit spot with a
particular plant. We connected with the plant while at our quiet spot,
with the intention of learning what we can from kin. We each harvested
a few leaves from our plant and put them in a cup with some boiling
water to make a tea. We spent quiet time with our tea as we drank it,
and then gathered together to share our experience.
Walking back, we caught sight of a baby raccoon in a tree that we had
passed in the morning. This time, ki was having an afternoon nap and
didn’t even notice us pass underneath kin!
*As per Robin Wall Kimmerer’s article, the pronouns for animals have
been changed, instead of “he” or “she” I’ve used “ki” and instead of
“him” or “her” I’ve used “kin”.