About Being with Plants Musings
Most of my waking hours for the past several months
have been spent outdoors, being and working with plants. Frequently there is not another person in sight. I work
for a company called Helping Nature Heal, that does caretaking of formal gardens as well as restructuring and
replanting of wild areas. At home, I have my own gardens and plant projects.
This is work I have grown into, through external
observation that I am most comfortable and content when being with plants, as well as internal guidance that my
soul's growth purpose at this point in my life, is to learn about plant consciousness.
Plant consciousness of itself is non-verbal. In fact,
my brain is very happy to pause most of its verbal functioning to simply be with the plants, articulating only
however it is that I am sorting, organizing or caretaking them, whether I am weeding or planting or pruning.
Always, I am appreciating, observing and wondering.
The challenge is that when I restart the human
functioning verbal processes of my brain, they do not simply carry on from where they left off, they are
different. Initially, I found this quite disorientating. Much of human thinking and acting seems absurd from the
perspective of plant consciousness. Not in the sense of any judgments or opinions, simply
Yet, plants and humans are intrinsically
interconnected. Humans have figured out how plants function physically, how they benefit humans nutritionally
and medicinally, how to propagate and grow plants and so on. Plants, in turn, respond to human thoughts and
needs, perhaps more so than we realize.
A personal experience I have had of this is with
Cedar. Cedars do not naturally choose to grow in Nova Scotia. Invariably, the ones I have seen planted are
scrawny and struggling to survive. It has recently been explained to me that this is because most of the base
soil here is acidic and cedars prefer an alkaline environment.
However, there is a beautiful cedar here on this
property and I love cedars. So, after I moved here, noticing how the native trees (pines, firs and spruces)
sprout babies prolifically, all over the place, so that I am forever weeding them out of places they have no
chance of growing in, I asked Cedar why it wasn't making any babies. I explained how beautiful and well adjusted
it was, that it was at home now, so it would be nice to have some cedar babies around.
That conversation happened three years ago and I had
forgotten all about it until one day this spring as Laurie and I were sauntering around, greeting and admiring
all the new plant beings, low and behold, there, in a bank, between the mowed lawn and the driveway, among the
native field plants, was a baby cedar. An excited examination of the bank revealed several more, all beautiful
and vibrantly alive and well.
Would Cedar have made the babies, anyway, if I had not
asked it? I do not know. I am not aware of any other places around here where cedars propagate naturally,
willingly. Certainly, my conversation with cedar at least affirmed and encouraged, whether it initiated the
process or not.
Our thoughts are very real bits of energy. I remember,
for example, how I worked with my thoughts when I was in the soul's growth lesson of “living in wellness”. I
watched my thoughts diligently and deleted any thoughts that had potential of harming anyone or anything, in the
understanding, that: as all is one, what you wish or project or attribute to another, you bring back upon
Now, in my current soul's growth lesson of learning
about plant consciousness, I am again aware of my thinking. Which thoughts and attitudes come from what I have
always accepted to be true about plants, that other people, from my childhood onwards, have spoken around me.
What do I really know and think and believe now?
Glaring into my attention this spring, as never
before, are what I first labeled as the “bully” plants; plants that take over or dominate in an area, so that
other plants are severely compromised or pushed out of being there, altogether.
all sorts of implications of human manipulation of other humans. I don't think plants try to manipulate one
another; more simply, they take their space in the ground and if it is in their nature to grow eighty feet tall
and shade a quarter of an acre of land, then this is simply fulfilling their potential.
So, I have deleted the word “bullying” from
considerations about plants and switched to using “assertive” instead. And I realize, that given the right
circumstances, many many plants can become assertive. As I talk about this with other plant people, they tell me
that mint, comfrey, burdock, thistle, knotweed, roses, shrubs, junipers, ground ivy, blackberries, horsetails,
grasses, monster grapes, poison ivy, nettles, nightshades, vetches, pin cherries, poplars, spruces, pines and
the list goes on and on, can “take over” and become the “dominant plant” in a given area.
Meanwhile, people are deciding what plants they want
to see growing on the land in their care. Many of these human friendly plants need constant human engagement and
nurturing to hold their space among the assertive ones. I wonder how many of the plants in our yards and gardens
have evolved in response to human needs and desires and whims and thoughts and care-taking.
Gardens and fields around here, left untended, grow
very differently. Without human intention and effort, they organize themselves to grow back into forest. Sun
loving plants give their energy to support the next growth of species that in turn give way to shrubs and
eventually trees that overshadow many plants. Then there are the plants that thrive on the forest floor,
including the mushrooms and fungi.
Plant consciousness has a different relationship to
time than the human thinking of one life span.
In the present moment, being with plants is
exhilarating. They are simply vibrant natural channels of prana, life force and the joy of being alive on this
May you enjoy the plant beings that share space and
consciousness with you in this Earthwalk!