Starting this fall, with the September issue, I have a column in Plant Healer Magazine called The Herbalist Rabbit. It is a story in parts, written for a younger audience (or for the young at heart!), that features a Rabbit-Witch, a girl named Bernadette, and a rabbit named Hawthorn (inspired by my own wild & wise angora). It is set in the world of the Leveret Letters, which some of you may know! (wildtalewort.net/collections/leveret-letters) Plant Healer Magazine is an incredible publication for so many reasons. It is packed full of herbal wisdom and knowledge, an unrivaled resource for any and all who are drawn to the healing of plants. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter, to whet your appetites! ******* I had arrived at dusk the night before, with little Hawthorn in my arms. We’d been running all day, and a rabbit has only so much stamina. When I say “we had arrived,” it sounds like I had a plan, and a destination, but in truth we were just fleeing, running headlong from the Hamlet called Pelican where I grew up, over the border into Wild Folk Country, and on and on through fir forest and meadow, through manzanita scrub and coyotebrush hills. Hawthorn seemed to know where he was going, so I just followed. We reached the edge of a salmonberry thicket, and there Hawthorn lay do as if to nap, too tired to run any further. But we were still in the open, and the first star was glinting its eye open above us in the sky, so I scooped him up, his little legs and front paws tucked into the crook of my arm. I’m small, so I managed to squeeze through a narrow opening in the salmonberry canes, thinking we’d sleep on the far side, where I thought I’d glimpsed a dip, indicating some sort of clearing, over the top. I was right about the clearing, but nothing could have prepared me for what really lay on the other side of the salmonberry thicket. First of all, from where I stood, the salmonberries made a great hedge that seemed double the height they’d been before, sealing us in. Second, and best of all, there was a small house right in the middle that seemed to rise straight out of the earth, a mound with round windows and a sturdy wooden door all grown with grass and the last orange poppies of the year. Smoke came from a clay chimney, and the windows were rosy from the light within. “Hawthorn,” I whispered. “I think we may be safe now.” Just then, the door opened and an extraordinary-looking woman walked out. She wore a sturdy nettle apron over a faded red dress, and she had all the appearance of a normal human woman in her form and features, only she was covered in fur of a downy chestnut brown, and her ears were the full grown version of what mine had recently started to become—a rabbit’s, long and tapered and delicately veined. I reached up and touched one of my ears—smaller than hers and of a darker brown—and felt the small place in my stomach that had been so tight since our flight from the Pelican Hamlet begin to ease. “I thought I heard something through the hedge!” she called out. To my astonishment, Hawthorn bounded through her front garden, all neat rows tangled with herbs I would later learn the names of—lemon balm and echinacea, tulsi and calendula, with late orange poppies and yarrow growing exuberantly all along the edges, and dandelions in every crack— and stopped right at her feet. He proceeded to sniff at them and then to sample the hem of her dress with great confidence.
Posted on: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:55:24 +0000
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