death walker medicine 🥀
"Healing begins where the wound was made." ~ Alice Walker
autumn has begun to make their slow creep forward. the st. johns wort, whose flowers have been vibrating with bumblebees for months are finally going to seed. yet in that same breath-filled landscape, the asters, aconite, and goldenrod are just beginning to take bloom. as it goes, some of nature's sprites are dying back, shedding their cloaks of productivity, while some are just beginning to ripen. our bodies too, simultaneously create life through the forming of our blood, cells, and lymph, while creating death through our shit, sweat, and breath. the inner workings of the balance of life is one of our great mysteries and responsibilities; as the inheritors of this considerable technology of impermanence and perpetual transformation. so as i orient towards the end of summer & the harvest season that arises, i carry gratitude for the opportunity to suckle from the marrow of life once again. but this summer scratched deep, and drew blood. deaths of beloveds. drought. late frost. stone fruit crop loss. funerals. endless rain. intense flooding. scarceness. tomato blight. health diagnoses. surgeries. smoke filled skies. localized food insecurity. extinction. slow-pocalypse. it hasn't been an easy season. and the lessons are many. the ask feels like an invitation to grow my strength. and not an ableist, caffeine induced, superficial strength, but something deep, sustaining, possible, and necessary, as i round the bend into a season that’s asking for heavier lifting, in an ever aging body. as i said to a dear friend this morning who was asking how i was doing, ‘i'm just praying that i don't sprain my spiritual ankle as i mount this marathon of life-flows.’ the inquiry feels like a loud and clear declaration reverberating out from my non-human kin. though more than saying it, they have been showing by example that it is time to make way for the death walkers' procession. in my experience, our role in the way of things is simple, to listen to what insights our non-human kin have to offer, and to observe and model the ways they move through this slow, yet imminent extinction period. jumping worm is a death walker, reminding us how inextricably tied we are to the health and wellbeing of the soil that sustains us. japanese knotweed is a death walker, their generous roots, that dig deeper than most. the same roots that increase the biological availability of phosphorus to plants with shallower roots. the smoke of conifer wood, bark, and needle are death walkers, their smoke saying, ‘you expect the air you breathe, you expect the sun to greet you each day, you expect sustenance, you expect clean water.’ their smoke an invitation to find our way back to our interconnectedness. ghost pipe is a death walker, guiding us as we drift, oscillate and move between worlds (of spirit and of earth.) they are here, as doulas, working to aid us through the impassable and uncertain thresholds we face. sargassum seaweed is a death walker, each year blooming larger and larger mats of tangled vegetation, a problem for capitalism, but a form of protection for the sacred waters, a powerful nutrient for lifeless soil, and a food-medicine for our thyroids, hearts, and eyes.
spongy moth is a death walker, their hunger for our oaks, maples, apples, hickory, basswood, and birch insatiable. as they pillage and eat, filling their bellies, they look to each other saying, where are these tree’s elders? who here remembers the ancient ways? & we too are death walkers, our purpose in an active state of emergence. what death walkers rattle beside you?