My mother brought me a tiny cutting from her garden.
It’s called “The Old Man.”
Along with it came a story.
Two stories, really.
I’ll tell you first today.
“The Old Man,” or Artemisia Abrotanum by its formal name,
grew prolifically around every home in Lake Ainslie in the “olden days.”
It’s not so common now,
perhaps because we’ve forgotten its benefits.
“The Old Man” is an ancient herb.
It’s ferny leaves, when touched or rubbed, give of a pungent scent like camphor.
Bees and insects are not fond of it. Sprigs of it laid among clothes will repel moths.
Perhaps it was put to this use in former days.
It is also said to ward of infection.
I like to imagine my great-grandmothers and their neighbours
snipping pieces of this ancient herb for common uses;
An everyday spirituality of the earthy ordinary.
We have forgotten much of our connection with healing plants and herbs.