Nature Wisdom

With Pat Tuholske, Naturalist

Summer’s End

Gathering plants for my herbal goods during this summer’s high heat, I was captivated by a pink milkweed in full bloom with over a dozen swallowtail butterflies vying for nectar. Deeply touched by this spectacle of fluttering wings, I felt this was a vibrant affirmation of life in the midst of a record-setting hot dry summer.

As daylight slowly dwindles, the Sun will blast us with a few more warm days of summer’s glory before the wheel turns to autumn. All of Nature knows the cycle. We witness it in the leaves turning, asters blooming, cricket’s last song, and squirrels stockpiling acorns. Capture the light and warmth of these end days of summer in simple ways like gathering a wildflower bouquet, telling stories around a campfire, catching a meteor, and eating apples plucked from the tree.

This summer’s memories are abundant with heat, drought, dance of lightning, tease of thunder and fated winds. The elements can be tender as a butterfly emerging from chrysalis or violent enough to take down hundred-year-old sycamores. Nature is the ruling force on the planet and is neither personal nor selective. It simply IS.

My Dad often took me fishing when I was young. He introduced me to the quiet and peace of a late summer day. In his little boat we would escape to the stillness of deep water. Bamboo pole in the water, I would listen to gentle waves lapping and feel the last of the strong Sun on my face. I was the luckiest child on earth.

As Dad loaded the boat when fishing time was over, I’d wander the banks picking flowers and counting butterflies, then sit and watch the river. Dad would silently join me and we’d say our thanks to the day. I carry this tradition on and feel it most strongly this time of year when the school year begins. As a child, my time outside would now be limited and I wanted to capture one last summer day to carry within me.

The world forever turns to greet another autumn at summer’s end.

Check out Pat Tuholske’s journal “Nature as Healer” for musings on the Human-Nature relationship. Go to elementalearthcamp.com. Pat is the guide at Elemental Earthcamp “off the grid” encampment in the Missouri Ozarks and leads yearly quests.
See her wild wreaths and native plant remedies on her website: WillowRainHerbalGoods.com.