One of the sure signs of spring in Calgary is the appearance of the prairie crocus (Prairie Anemone) in the Nose Creek Valley, walking distance from our home. Sweet, fuzzy purple clusters poking through the thatches of dried, brittle grass on the sides of Tom Campbell Hill. Brave little floral souls daring to show themselves when all too often the threat of cold and snow lingers in the Foothills well into May. But then again, this is crocus weather because, as soon as the days get hot, the prairie crocus retreats until next spring.
I looked the third weekend in April but the wee mauve faces weren’t risking an appearance just yet. Smart flowers! Last week, though, we found many clusters…so delightful!
Over the decades, I have worn many hats from bookseller to storyteller to speech instructor to homeopath. Love of storytelling will always be with me, and maybe that is why I so enjoy homeopathy. When you study homeopathy you learn that each remedy has a picture and a story to tell; a story that somehow we, as humans, have ‘borrowed’ from nature as a permanent or temporary way of being, sometimes in sickness and sometimes as a way to cope with life.
For those of you who enjoy urban walks, storytelling, and learning homeopathic remedies, I am pleased to share with you the story of ‘How the Prairie Anemone Got Its Fur Coat’ as told by Annora Brown, author of Old Man’s Garden. In homeopathic materia medica, Pulsatilla is very close in nature to the prairie crocus/anemone, so when you read and learn the story, keep in mind homeopathic Pulsatilla. Sometimes, by learning the traditional native stories and seeing the plant, you can ‘get’ what the remedy is all about in terms of what it can help heal.
I bought the book Old Man’s Garden the first year that I moved to Alberta. I was charmed by the wood block illustrations and the stories about prairie plants. Annora Brown’s dedication and a small quote from her introduction seduced me to buy the book at a time when I was a student with limited funds for “charming” books!
Dedicated to all nature lovers everywhere
Who can see a tree and leave it standing,
Who can see a flower and leave it growing,
Who can see a bird and leave it flying,
Who can see a moth and let it live.
This is a book of gossip about the flowers of the west. Its purpose is to gather under one cover some of the legend and lore that is to be found lying about in odd corners, not easily available to those whose reading time is limited.
The book is out of print but there are many fundraising and used book sales… if you are very lucky, you might still find a copy!
Here is the story. Learn it and tell it to your child, your friend, your partner, your parent, your companion, or your pet while searching for signs of spring in prairie fields. As the days grow longer and summer heat approaches, the crocuses will soon be disappearing — so enjoy the spring season by greeting them!
Here is the story of the homeopathic remedy Pulsatilla. Learn it and discover the many uses should you or any of your family need the healing support of Pulsatilla.
“How the Prairie Anemone Got Its Fur Coat”
Wapee shivered and drew his robe tighter about him. It was cold there on the hillside, but the shiver was more of fear and loneliness than of cold. Always before he had slept in the tipi of his parents, where his father could protect him
But at last his father had said, “Wapee is no longer a child. It is time he went to the hills to dream and become a man.”
So here he was, by himself, on a hilltop, with great stars above him, the long line of the mountains still sleeping far to the west and nothing about him but a great emptiness.
The morning before he had set out with a light heart. The snows of winter had but lately melted, the sun was warm; and would he not, that very night, dream a great dream that would change him from the child he had always been to the man he was to be? But now the sky was lit by the coming day and all through the night he had lain, not with bright visions, but with dark space and loneliness and fear.
The mountains turned from dark, cold grey to rosy pink, then to purple and last to shining blue, but Wapee still crouched on the hilltop, motionless and brooding. Three more nights like the one just past and he must return to his father and his friends and tell them that he was not a man but only a coward, whom the Great Spirit had found unworthy even of a dream.
The day grew warm and the feeling of great weariness and failure lifted, as it always lifts in the presence of the warm sun god. Besides, Wapee was no longer alone. He had found a friend. Beside him on the hilltop sat a beautiful flower, as white as the snow that was no resting on the slopes of the far-off mountains, before its summer journey to the north land. The flower opened its heart to greet the golden sun and swayed and nodded to Wapee until his troubled mind was calmed by the peace of blue mountains and wind-washed prairie grass.
Wapee sat on the hillside watching occasional crows pass back and forth, or a hawk wheel far above him. Or listening to the stir of growing things beneath and thinking grave thoughts. So the day passed.
The mountains turned to rose, then grey. The sun dropped down behind them, leaving to Wapee once more the darkness and the stars, but not emptiness, for now he had a friend, the little white flower, near him.
“Little brother”, he said, “it is cold for such fragile loveliness on a night like this. I will lie close and shelter you with my warm robe, but I must not crush you with my big body.”
So while one part of his mind slept and rested, the other part kept watch over the flower.
When the dark of the night was just preparing to meet the light of the day, the flower spoke. “Yesterday, Wapee, you were sad because you had been afraid. He who never know fear is a fool. The wise man learns to overcome it and profits by it.”
Wapee sat up with a start and bent over the flower to hear better what it might say but the flower only nodded and swayed in the morning breeze.
All day Wapee pondered on the saying of the flower and next night, when he lay down to sleep, he again sheltered it with his robe of fur. Again, just as Morning Star looked out across the prairie, it spoke.
“You have a kind heart, Wapee. It will lead you to great things.”
Next night, still sheltered under the robe, the flower spoke again. “Wisdom and a gentle heart will make of you a great leader. But when you are bowed with troubles and cares, remember that on a nearby hilltop you will find peace and wisdom.”
Then Wapee slept and saw, dimly, many visions of what was to come when he should be chief of his tribe and his people happy, contented and prosperous.
Before he rose to go to his people he thought once more of the flower. “Little brother”, he said, “three nights you have comforted me in my loneliness and brought me visions. Tell me now three of your wishes that I may ask the Great Spirit to grant them to you.”
The flower, nodding, answered. “Pray that I may have the purple blue of the distant mountains in my petals that men may seek my company and be rested. Second let me have a small golden sun to hold close in my heart, to cheer me on dull days when the sun god is hidden. Last, let me have a warm coat, like your robe of fur, that I may face the cold winds that blow from the melting snow and bring men comfort and the hope of warmer winds to follow.”
The Great Spirit was pleased that Wapee’s first thought had been for the flower and his prayers were answered. Now over the hillsides thousands of the descendants of Wapee’s small white friend face the cold winds of early spring, with the colour of the distant mountains in their petals, a bright sun in their hearts, and a warm furry robe wrapped securely about them.”
In health and healing,
I would love to hear what you think – just leave a comment below, I always respond.
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