Cie Simurro- Thunderbird Starwoman

Have you thought about how you fit into Nature, and all her artistic and engineering miracles?

This has been an amazing week for Totem energy. On my morning walk with Ebbie, I was providentially gifted a hawk feather; on the afternoon walk, an owl feather. Friday, a doe crossed the road in front of me. Saturday, I was honored to help a Red Eft cross over to the other side. And Yellow Swallowtails have been everywhere. The pictures above were taken on Father’s Day (thank you). Two Yellow Swallowtails decided to spend over two hours on me, while mating. Ah, Swallowtail sex in the afternoon! I finally had to gently place them on some flowers in the planter of my deck railing, since the mosquitos had decided I was on their menu.

The other day I was walking down a dirt road, when I saw a little fella I’d never seen before – a most amazing feat of engineering – a long, segmented centipede, with lots of tiny legs. Just watching all those segments and legs move in unison, humbled me about the design of such a creature. Even the color would have taken a master painter to imagine such a palette: dark brown, tinged with a red wash over all. Let’s multiply that creature by the billions, or gazillions, and there you have our garden planet.

Speaking of gardens, for those of us who don’t live in desert areas, have you thought recently of how much pleasure and healing you get from seeing swaths of green, green grass everywhere – between trees, bushes and flowers. And those plants, especially the ones people call weeds – how can we thoughtlessly dismiss and pull, those paragons of beauty and medicine, in addition to how they repair areas that have been savaged by storms, man, or natural calamities.

One of the reasons, I am the world’s worst weeder is because I admire how they fill what seems to be empty space with prolific examples of qualities from Nature. Some of the most spectacular flowers are from what we call weeds! So many of them, we step over or around every day, blind to their power to help us. If we understood and appreciated their gifts, we would treat all the things of earth, water and sky with respect. If we respect plants, it is likely we will respect animals, as well as the Earth, and then naturally, other humans. This respect, and even reverence, actually can transform life on Earth to peace, community, and abundance for all.

I know how beautiful and useful “weeds” can be. Two plants that grow in disturbed areas are dandelions and plantain. A dandelion’s bright yellow flower cheers us before other flowers bloom in the spring. Their roots provide medicine that cleanses and heals our livers; I’ve made delicious fritters from the flowers (don’t pick near roads), and the leaves make a nutritious spring mix for salad.

Forget the chemicals to keep bugs away. The flower stalk of the plantain makes our blood distasteful to biting insects. About an inch off the top of the flower stalk each week, while in bloom does the trick.

Cattails, or punks as we used to call them when I was a kid, have a myriad of uses. When I studied with Tom Brown Jr., The Tracker, I was most impressed by this tall, stately, and useful denizen of the abundant wildlife habitat, the swamp. The punk or head can be soaked in a flammable substance and lit for use as a torch, for light and to keep mosquitos away. It can also be broken up and used for tinder. As an insulator, it can be used as fill for a sleeping bag or pillow, and to stuff holes in a temporary shelter. 

The cattail is a great source of food and medicine. The little white corms that grow on the roots are refreshing and filling; in spring, the young shoots are nourishing, either boiled or steamed. Summer produces pollen that can be added to flour for soup or stew thickener that is rich in protein. That “flour” is also an effective remedy for diarrhea. Various other parts of the plant can be used as an antiseptic, pain-killer, drawing salve, even hair conditioner. And if I remember correctly, in Fall, I used the dried stalks to make arrow shafts.


I was scratching my arm the other day, when suddenly I had a whole new perspective on my skin. Think how well-designed it is, that a thin layer of epidermis forms a protective sheath, or “bag” if you will – an envelope for everything inside – muscles, nerves, bones, fluids and ultimately organs. Not just us, but also those that live outside, or in the water (scales) or on land (fur). What Intelligence programmed DNA to provide that?

How is it that each type of environment grows plants that are food and cover, for both predator and prey? What Awareness makes it all work interdependently whenever its natural processes are not interfered with? Something to think about, before we insert ourselves into the equation blindly, or introduce new factors that become invasive.

Can we just stop, look, really see, and open to let ourselves notice all the miracles around us every day? As one example, how wondrous is it, that each spider that weaves webs is born knowing how to instinctively do that. There is wisdom in the practice of watching a square foot of earth for an hour, so we can learn how to really see. 

Back to my original question: If we would only consider ourselves PART of that harmony, symmetry, and potential we call Nature, our decisions about how to live in, and act toward, “our relations” would be thoughtful – mindful even; responsible. We could let ourselves be soothed, refreshed, and amazed. We would daily, feel gratitude and appreciation for all the gifts we receive. We would have a working, interdependent partnership with our greatest ally of all – Nature.