Hollyhocks Insistence

Nature is helpful and friendly. We know all about the other side of that story, the survival of the fittest—everything killing and eating everything else, the indifference of nature. But I’ve had so many experiences of nature being exceedingly personal and caring also—for instance the hollyhock that has taken over my front porch. For the past three years it comes up through the stones, each year growing larger. This year despite the plague of locusts that has invaded most of Taos— grasshoppers making lace of the leaves, it has taken over the entire porch.


I’ve suffered with ulcerative colitis for many years. I refuse the steroids and heavy-duty anti-inflammatory medicines that the doctors have to offer, opting for herbs and alternative therapies. So far I’ve managed to keep away from surgeons and despite this sometimes exhausting debility, I still have all my natural born parts and am not walking around with a colostomy bag.

I decided to see if there is any medicinal value to Hollyhock. The first site I came to on Google said Hollyhock is good for digestion and heals ulcers. I’d read this last year when the Hollyhock came up but didn’t do anything about it. The Googled site that came up this year actually explained how to infuse the flowers, in cold water.

It took three years for me to receive the message of this tenacious plant growing bigger and stronger, as if nature has been insisting to the point of shouting, “I’M HERE TO HELP YOU.”

I’ve been picking 5 or 6 flowers each morning (avoiding the ones that the huge bees are sucking from) and infusing them in water overnight. I drink the water from the previous day and toss the soaked flower into the ground to recycle. The infused water has a mild taste. I’m not sure how it is helping, but I am sure it contributes positively to all the other things I do to keep this body going.

Perhaps if we learn to treat nature as friendly, not something we have to dominate and control. If we treat her with the respect she deserves, paying attention to her myriad signs and subtle ways of communicating, she will be more friendly with us.


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