After a few weeks in England, where I had the honor of attending the Radical Herbalism Gathering (click here to check out some photos and stories from this truly radical event), I made a quick pit stop in Atlanta to pack up the Bus. I am now slowly rolling west across this amazingly beautiful and bountiful country. First stop is the CALM First Aid Station at the annual Rainbow Gathering in northeastern Utah. This will be my 3rd year serving alongside and learning from the other wonderfully skilled practitioners who volunteer their efforts at this free-off-the-grid-clinic and keep this temporary village in most vital health.
The next stop is California, where I will spend a few weeks in the Bay area and LA to offer a series of workshops and Herb Bus events. Check the Herbalista Calendar of Classes for events as they are added.
And no trip would be complete without plenty of time with the plants — botanizing and wildcrafting along the way as we make sweet, sweet herbal medicine to share with patients and friends.
Yesterday, we had another member on our crew! Ann Merrill, a friend and herbalist from Austin, lent us a hand at the Big House station. While an herbalist’s work can often be a solitary endeavor, our practice on the Bus is a group effort. The crew works together, in a dynamic back and forth, as we run the consult and customize the remedies we offer to patients. Ann made a great addition!
Not only does the crew benefit from this communal work environment, but we have noticed that the community we serve has bonded over our monthly visits as well. While folks are waiting for their turn, they sit together, sip tea, and talk about the herbs they are trying. They are supporting one another in their healthcare efforts. This is what we mean by “Building Community through Herbalism! Viva la Herb Bus!
My last weekend in England was spent in the company of a group of amazing herbalists and herb lovers at the Radical Herbalism Gathering. (www.radicalherbalism.org.uk)
I am still buzzing. Sometimes you need to go over an ocean and plant yourself down in a group of strangers, to be reminded of the continuity of the human experience. To be surrounded by such compassionate folks who see true health as inseparable from social and environmental justice, to see first hand that these issues are being discussed and shared and worked towards in many corners of the planet gave me a little shot of hope.
Working for social change can wear a person down. I remember when I was a younger girl, asking my mother how she could day in and out keep fighting the unwinnable fight, bear to live in a country such as ours, where crimes of humanity were committed on the regular, where business was valued over blood, where true equality seems a pipe dream. She just looked at me and said it was called “living in the belly of the beast,” and that what keeps us going, even in desperate times, was that the people you meet doing this work, the community you get to be a part of, makes it all ok. The shared inspiration keeps our flame burning strong.
And that is how this gathering made me feel! Here is a collection of photos from my weekend in the lovely Shropshire countryside with a group of lovely folks.