the green and yellow dance

No other time of year makes me happier than the summer. Even on the hottest, most humid days, my windows are wide open and I am breathing deeply. I spend as much time as I can on my balcony; my tiny sacred space. Whenever I can, I walk to work or to the store just to feel the sun and wind on me.

The summer reminds me of my childhood. It reminds me of hours spent wandering quietly in the apple orchards, in the silent woods, touching the ground, talking with the animals. The summer makes me feel like I'm always home. I don't always feel the need to visit public parks (mostly because I don't think I've gotten past the shame I experience when I am seen communing with nature... it's a process. gaaaaaah), but when I do, I sit in the grass and find plants I know, and discover ones I don't.

One of my favorite summer plants is a weed (of course) that I first discovered in the orchards behind my dad's house. I thought, for many years, that it was chamomile. Later, when I discovered chamomile growing in a different part of the orchard, I learned I was wrong.

Matricaria discoidea
Pineapple weed is such a sweet little plant. When the little cone-like flowers are crushed, it releases a pineapple/chamomile scent (which is why I thought it was chamomile). It actually has a lot of the same uses as chamomile—it soothes stomachaches, cramps, and flatulence; externally it can be used to soothe itching and minor skin ailments.

Mostly, though, finding pineapple weed in the wild is a delicious experience. The sweet scent of the crushed flower is so soothing and grounding and magical.

Mentha × piperita can be identified by its square red stems. And, you know, its scent. 

Peppermint is another summertime favorite. In hot teas or cool baths the minty cold flavors and smells are perfect for too-hot days. Peppermint feels cold, and it actually induces sweating, which helps our bodies chill out.

All citrus fruits, too, are wonderful in the summer. Why am I just listing stuff I like? Because the BEST way to enjoy these wonderful summer plants is to infuse water with them.

see the chunks of lime in the bottom?

You could make tea, hot or iced. You could infuse the potion with the rays of the sun or moon (perhaps another post?). Or you could just throw everything in a pitcher and stick it in the fridge. These are some of my favorite flavors, but you can use whatever you want! Peel the rind and any pith off of some citrus fruits, and rip the fruit into chunks. Squeeze a bunch of juice into a pitcher, and throw the chunks in with it. Then, grab some herbs (make sure they're edible! Check out the resources in the sidebar) and squeeze leaves and flowers between your fingers to bruise and crush them. Throw 'em into the pitcher. Add a bunch of fresh, cold water, and let it all marinate in your fridge for an hour or two. Some people add sweetener. I don't, and I wouldn't recommend it. Sugar doesn't help with hydration, and that's what we're going for here.

Maybe while that's brewing, grab a piece of citrine and meditate on the stone's happy, uplifting, summer qualities. Citrine removes negativity, reminding us to laugh and find our joy. Sit or walk outside while you do this. Connect with the earth, with nature, and allow the crystal to draw abundance and sunshine to you.

Spend a lot of time with citrine in the summer. Keeping the stones charged with vivacious sun-infused energy can help keep you going in the dark of winter. I always keep a chunk of citrine on my altar, as a reminder to choose a positive attitude whenever I can.

if you plan to keep your infusion overnight, strain the solids out to prevent a bitter drink.

When you've finished meditating with your stone, go back inside and pour yourself a nice glass of water. In fact, pour a few. In fact, make (at least) two liters of herby fruit water to drink every day! It's shocking how many problems in our bodies can be completely solved by adding water. Our bodies are wet things, and so many of us are constantly dehydrated. In the summer, especially, when we are sweating much more than usual, we need to make sure to re-hydrate. A lot. Like, way more than you'd think.

Aside from drinking more water (plz do that), it's important to remember that plant medicine doesn't always need to be bad tasting teas and tinctures and decoctions and capsules. Food is medicine. Add fresh, lively plants to your food and water every day to fully benefit from the energies and nutrients contained within the plant cells. Munch on (edible, obviously) leaves and flowers and stroll. Throw a handful of common mallow into a salad. Drop some purple basil into a hot cup of tea. The idea here, is that medicine shouldn't be something you take when you don't feel well—it shouldn't only be that. Rather, the process of feeding our bodies should be medicine in itself. When we change how we understand medicine and sickness, we start to understand the totality of wellness. And that's when things get really fun.


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