I wake very early in the summer, right before dawn when the robins are singing their good morning songs and the song sparrows weave their chorus through the thickets in the backyard.
After the sun had risen and I had dressed, I went to fetch my bike. I had plans to collect lots of yarrow. We have massive amounts of it growing on the trail that takes me to work. The Solstice is a great day to do your wild herb harvesting. To my surprise, my partner had left the garage door locked, which is where I keep my bike. He had the only key to open it and was at work so, I took it as an opportunity to take a very long walk to the large yarrow patches and do some exploring along the way. It was actually a blessing in disguise, because I was able to access and discover many new trails I've never seen before. One of which lead me deep into the woods and into a clean red cedar clearing. It was quiet and still, but the air still moved around you. Sometimes you'll encounter these special places that'll send a chill up your spine, stir a nervousness in the pit of your stomach and you become hyper aware of your surroundings. Suddenly you'll feel the need to tip toe and walk very quietly. Then it dawns on you that the reason you're behaving this way, is because you're being watched by invisible eyes. I made sure to leave small offerings in these special places.
I was after something though, and that was to discover that trilling bird I had talked about in a previous post. That was what led me deep into the forest. I got closer and closer to the call, but it seemed like the bird knew I was after it and it drew me deeper. I finally reached the edge of tangled woods I couldn't really walk my way through. I was so close! The haunting call was coming from the tops of the alder trees. Then I saw it, a bird about the size of a cardinal, it dropped towards the ground in a flash and then darted towards the sun. Completely obstructing my view by being partially blinded by the sun! Then it disappeared. For now, I'll just call it the Siren Bird. Right after that, a large crack sounded. As I looked through the tangled brush, there was a massive blue heron that had just flown off of a dead tree and broke the branch it had been perched on. The heron was with it's mate, they screeched at each other as they flew around the small swampy area. It was fascinating to see such large birds that close. I've never heard them call out to each other like that before either, it was a treat indeed. As I headed back out to the main trail, a flicker laughed and I couldn't help but think he was laughing at me, because I had been tricked by the Siren Bird.
While I would like to say that collecting herbs is a fascinating story in itself. I think it's best told in pictures.