Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Lion's Tooth...

Dandelion by Helen Ratcliff

Okay, so... the humble dandelion. It grows in our gardens and common land. The weed. Taken for  granted in the wild and removed if imposing our lawns. Yes, the weed. But, this wild one is an intelligent and complex plant. Not just a weed. 
 Remember all the golden, hazy, summer afternoons where the fluffy, soft, balls are ready to be dispersed and carried on a gentle breeze. A slight blow and the little parachutes take off in to the air... These seed - bearing parachutes ride the wind until they reach their new habitat, and gracefully land to begin a new cycle of preserving... the persevering parachutes travelling across the meadow against a back drop of mellow sun... Country walks and dappled days... 

This quietly confident plant offers an abundance of healing powers and nutrition.  The dandelion is indeed a valuable herb that can be used as food and medicine. In fact it is a rich source of Vitamins A, B complex, C and D. Vital to sustaining good health. It also boasts important minerals such as Iron, Potassium and Zinc. The leaves are frequently used in tea and salads. And, of course, the actual nectar from the flower- not just honey... but wine.

 Dandelions have been used by humans throughout all recorded history. I believe the milky syrup inside the stalk can also be an important ingredient to produce rubber. Although this apparently would only be found in the Russian dandelion. Nevertheless, quite remarkable.
 This generous plant can also benefit humans by its natural healing properties. It can aid the recovery of liver infections and works well as an antioxidant - flushing out the system and acting as a diuretic. You could say, parts of the plant (the root I think), have effects as seen with caffeine. It stimulates and promotes well - being.
 So... Intelligent? Yes. I believe that something which had evolved about thirty million years a go in Eurasia and managed to travel as far as North America and settle ( with a bit of help from first human migration ), is a strong species that has survived against the odds. It continues to adapt and is an important part of our survival. It is the weed with attitude and inner beauty. It is a beauty so complex and evolved, that I wonder... Why do we insist on calling it a weed? 
 It is The Dandelion... A wild flower reminding us of our childhood days in the meadow and providing us with colour, nourishment and wisdom... It connects us. Consider the first time you picked the dead flower yet could not resist to blow the seeds in to the wind and innocently observe the splendour of evolution as the golden sun enhanced the fairy - like parachutes... A memory we all share.
 Maybe the next time you are out walking or even enjoying the garden. Spare a dandelion. Appreciate the unexpected. The one that doesn't shout or stand out. The one that gives you  the good stuff. Believe it or not, Mother nature always provides. This clever, unsung hero is our gift. And... there's plenty to go around.  

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Once I Was A Drifter...

Drifting Balloon By Helen Ratcliff

Some people, who know me well, would probably describe me as a drifter. I have, for some time, been searching. Searching for something real. On my journey I have met characters from all walks and experienced many splendid things. But, nothing has held me as tightly as my trip to Africa and waking up at dawn, in The Serengeti, to this vision above... I wanted to capture the essence of being a free spirit. Not just the amazing wildlife in their natural habitat. But, the feeling of, well... drifting. 
 I believe that I am anticipating my imminent future and returning to full - time employment. Not wishing to be misunderstood, however. I am very grateful for the work, but have embraced my freedom within the last few weeks and actually enjoyed my 'self' immensely. After enduring much heartache, worry and stress, I owed it to myself to like being me. Recently I have met up with old friends who have commented on me appearing lighter... I think I have learned how to let go of unnecessary (emotional and spiritual) weight. It feels good and peaceful.
 I hope now to embark upon a more fruitful and pleasurable journey - filled with creativity and making a difference. I am a drifter by nature, but know it is time for some structure and focus. I begin my new job on Friday and will be able to get back on track. A little piece of me is naturally scared of  feeling trapped but I am looking forward to new knowledge and something very real...

To be continued...