Monday, March 1, 2010

Herbal Expressions

I've always stumbled upon unique job opportunities that seem to be just a perfect fit for me. Several years ago in Boston I had the most fabulous pleasure of working for Esther, a truly amazing carnation of woman. I don't say this lightly; do you know anyone that has hosted catered her own daughter's wedding, for 400, in her backyard?

By day she was a school nurse, where she tended not only physical ailments, but emotional, relational and spiritual ones as well. She would come home after a long day, telling me stories of her interactions with her quixotic teenagers. "You know what I told her, Kate? I told her...." and it would be a mini-epic filled with passionate admonition, wisdom-packed words, and love. So very much love!

But, this was just her day job. When she came home, she was ready to "create", as she would tell me most every day. Esther wasn't a painter, a sculptor, or a writer. She was a whole other kind of creator, one that worked the earth to produce herbs of all sorts, then using these herbs to construct culinary masterpieces and herbal remedies of all kinds... shampoo, perfumes, spice blends, healing salves and so, so much more. She harvested the fruit from the trees in her yard, trees that she had her boys plant when they were rebellious teenagers, the hard work serving as penance for their fighting and misdemeanors. (How brilliant is that?!)

I could go on and on about Esther, and perhaps one day I will; she deserves it. But I've been thinking of how she's influenced me this past week, and I think her love of herbs has taken hold in me. Recently, I impulsively signed up for an on-line herb course entitled "Advanced Women's Herbs & Aromatherapy". Why I thought I had time for this when I am barely cranking through my doula studies (not to mention the millions of other things that have fallen by the wayside) I don't know, but when I saw it being advertised it just grabbed me. I've long been a fan of herbs, although primarily in cooking. I remember when I saw fresh herbs for the first time, having been accustomed to the dried variety for the most part. It was amazing! The scents of fresh basil or cilantro completely infiltrates my body, making my taste buds go into overdrive; I think they also get the creative juices flowing.

While I was pregnant, I started investigating a few herbs for their physical benefits, and liked what I discovered (obviously, should this interest you, please do your own research and discuss with your health care provider). This course seems to be a perfect "next step" in my herb journey. I am so excited to attain new knowledge and, hopefully, put it to good use. I imagine that as I move into working as a doula, knowing about herbs will only enhance the ways in which I can help my clients. But I also expect that this will open up my avenues of creativity, simply giving me a new medium to create with. And in my mind, I'll always carry with me the spice of Esther, and all that she created.

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