Some dogs, like my girl Kookaburra, require multiple daily walks– or else– they’ll dig their way to Timbuktu.
On today’s afternoon walk– we saw something unusual. There was an older lady standing by a tree stump. Her clothing made me think she was from Machu Picchu or thereabouts. Even though Kookaburra and I were at a distance– I was awestruck by the lady’s beautiful, shiny, white hair and super bright eyes.
The lady did not seem to notice me or Kookaburra. She was slowly placing rocks on top of the tree stump. At one point–the lady closed her eyes and placed her hands over the rocks– gliding them back and forth. She was breathing very slowly and it sounded like she was whispering or chanting something.
Next, the lady started breathing very quickly–like breath of fire breathing. It was definitely deliberate–this concentrated initial slow breathing followed by super fast breathing. I could tell she was using her breath like an engine– revving her up or slowing her down depending on what she intended to do. She was deeply entranced by the time Kookaburra and I got close to her. Thankfully, she did not notice us. I did not want to disturb her.
I walked by the lady as quietly and as quickly as I could. But Kookaburra could not help but stop and stare. I don’t know if she was scared or mesmerized or a little of both. But she was going nowhere. I had to pull and tug and pull and tug to get her to move along. Surprisingly, all the dragging noise did not disturb the lady. Or so I thought.
Suddenly the lady opened her very bright eyes and stopped and stared at us–and then she smiled.
The lady read my mind. She knew I was awestruck by her eyes and hair. She said, Bone Broth. Google Bone Broth. That’s all you need for bright eyes and shiny hair.
Ok. Thanks. Bye, I said. Then I ran home.
And I googledbone broth. There’s even a vegetarian version!
I am terrible with plants. I know I can do better. I just need to figure out what to do.
I was in denial at first– but now– I fully accept that my little Bonsai Boy plant, Tiberius–is a goner. It happened so fast too. Tiberius was a birthday gift from my twin sister. From the moment I saw him–I could tell he was special. He even came with instructions. And I read them– thoroughly. I thought I was doing all the right things. Poor Tiberius used to have such bright, beautiful, green leaves. He was very healthy and alive. Then something happened. His leaves shriveled up and they all fell to the ground. He became a collection of stems in a decorative planter. “He’s probably just hibernating,” I convinced myself. But, then the stems turned into dry sticks. Then dust.
Now, I have a strong feeling–if I don’t do something fast– my Aloe Vera plant, Agripina, will soon meet Tiberius in plant heaven.
Unlike me, my beautiful mother has a real green thumb. Plants, flowers, tomatoes–they all flourish under her care.
While my mom has been recovering from a stroke (10 months)–she has trusted me to take care of her plants. My dirty little secret (click here to listen) is that I have been slowly getting rid of them–one by one.
Of course, I wait until they’re good and dead first. It’s not like I just bury them for no reason. I know, I know. I can do better. And I will. It’s just that my mother has a lot of plants–so many plants that my twin sister takes care of half of them and I take care of the other half. I remember when my mom was first in rehab– she’d look my way and ask, “How are my plants?” I’d smile broadly– but in my mind I was singing this song (click here to listen).
I feel terrible about my inability with plants. Especially now that I’ve done some research into the many health benefits they offer. Not only do plants emit oxygen and humidify the air– but they also purify indoor air of pollutants. According to healthline.com (click here to read more): plants are mood enhancers. In fact, there’s even a wellness modality called Horticulture Therapy (HT):
HT is a practice that uses gardening as therapy. Outdoor gardening can reduce your risk for dementia by 36 percent. You may find similar therapeutic benefits from desk-sized Zen gardens, bonsai trees, or mini herb gardens.
I’ve also learned that plants have feelings. Meaning–they feel pain (click here to read more):
According to researchers at the Institute for Applied Physics at the University of Bonn in Germany, plants release gases that are the equivalent of crying out in pain. Using a laser-powered microphone, researchers have picked up sound waves produced by plants releasing gases when cut or injured. Although not audible to the human ear, the secret voices of plants have revealed that cucumbers scream when they are sick, and flowers whine when their leaves are cut.
According to Michael Pollan (read more here) plants not only feel pain–they also hear, taste and have intelligence. Pollan says that “the line between plants and animals might be a little softer than we traditionally think.” Click here to listen to an interview with Michael Pollan.
Michael Pollan also believes that by studying plants, humans can eventually create more intelligent robots-because plants like robots “process information without a central command post like a brain.”
Last night I watched an interview with the famous Australian architect, Peter Stutchbury (click here to watch it). In the interview Peter Stutchbury talks about the importance of being responsible by showing respect for all materials used. This concept of being responsible by showing respect really struck a nerve with me.
I started thinking that the missing link in caring for my mother’s plants is that I was not showing them the respect they deserve. So, this morning I tried something different.
Before watering my mother’s plants — I stroked them and I spoke to them. I took my time to really be present with them. All of them. And I finally saw how unique and individual they are. For the first time ever–I quietly listened to them. And I learned that they do not all require the same amount of water. But they do require care and attention. I finally respected them. And in return– I was transformed. Colors seemed brighter. The air literally became sparkly. A connection was made and I was healed– on many levels. This simple, profound act of respect has opened up a whole new world for me. And I like it. Thank you Peter Stutchbury!
I love trees. My favorite tree–Harriet–lives on the golf course near our house. She’s huge and beautiful. A few limbs are missing and she even has a scar– a deep, deep line that stretches way, way up to as far as I can see. I have to sneak on the golf course just to visit her. But–it’s well worth it — because with every visit — I am transported. And I feel renewed, free. Unlimited.
My twin sister, Akwelle, is a serious tree hugger. She says she only hugs the trees that call out to her. But, on our daily walks with Kookaburra (our dog)–Akwelle can often be found cavorting with tree, after tree, after tree, after tree.
I am a lot more self conscious than Akwelle is. I wish I could just go and hug a random tree–in public–without thinking too much about what some bicyclist might say or think. My favorite tree, Harriet, of course, is tucked far, far away from peeping eyes. She is mine alone. So, no worries for me there… at least, so I thought.
The other day–I saw this young man visiting Harriet–my tree. He hugged her affectionately and said, “Bye Jacob–see you tomorrow!” I was shocked. Speechless even. I wanted to run up to him and say, “Her name is Harriet and she’s mine. Go find your own tree!” But I stopped myself.
How foolish of me to think Harriet (or “Jacob”) only belonged to me. That’s the beauty of trees. They belong to no one. Trees are gifts–portals that transport us all to quieter, more peaceful, elevated worlds.
How lucky we are to be near them. How lucky we are to experience them.
My advice–instead of watching t.v. — go out and hug a tree!
It has been 2 months, 1 day, 4 hours, 10 minutes and 15 seconds since my last cupcake. I am now officially grain free. I honestly never knew I had a problem until I changed my diet.
My dog, Kookaburra, has been grain free since she was a puppy. Looking back– I can now understand (and relate to) the crazy behavioral issues she had during her transition from kibble to grain free.
Initially, I found myself secretly, quietly perusing images of cupcakes and (yes) sandwiches on the internet. Then my wheat addiction symptoms got more serious. I bought food magazines and cut out pictures of bread and other grain filled gems and pasted them on my bathroom wall! I was also light headed and a tiny bit cranky.
But, to support our mother’s path to wellness and her newly prescribed grain free diet, my sisters and I have decided to remain grain free too. As Dr. William Davis, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author states, “Once wheat-free, always wheat-free is the best policy.”
Is there a difference between Gluten-Free and Grain Free?
A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale.
Rice, corn, barley and oats are allowed.
A Grain-Free diet is a diet that excludes all grains including wheat, rice, corn, barley and oats.
According to Dr. William Davis, a Grain-Free Diet is the healthiest.