Sunday, March 30, 2014

Out With The Big Sagebrush

This past Friday, I really needed to take a mental health day.  I found myself wanting to get out into the sagebrush and pine trees, to a place that reminds me of my Uncle Bob’s property in the Eastern Sierras.  I decided to drive for about an hour up Angeles Crest, and hike a section of the Silver Moccasin Trail I’d explored before with a friend near Mount Waterman in the Angeles National Forest.

If you drive far enough up the highway to the desert side of the mountains, the plants begin to change.  You’ll begin to encounter a plant which grows in abundance at my Uncle’s place in Sierra Valley - Big Sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata)

Big sagebrush is an important plant.  It can be used for purification in the sweat lodge, disinfection, and to cure colds and stomachaches, along with many other traditional uses.  While last at my uncle’s place during New Year, I wandered his property, and walked through the abundant sagebrush.  I collected a small amount which I bundled and gave to relatives, and kept one for myself which now hangs on my kitchen cabinet.

Now, whenever I need a moment of peace, I take a deep breath of the fragrant bundle and am transported back to the beauty of Sierra Valley where it covers the landscape and perfumes the air.  I am reminded of the rustic comfort of my uncle's land, which has become a cherished place for all of my family.  And on this last hike of mine, I realized that this is a plant that I am developing a special relationship with.

Out with the Big Sagebrush - Sierra Valley, CA

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