Learning the names and properties of the plants around me is strengthening and deepening my connection to the natural world. Knowing the plants and what they can do, I feel much more confident in nature. I'm even starting to feel as if I'm part of nature instead of being separate from it.
The plants themselves are starting to feel like old friends and I welcome the changes I notice in them. The wattle has been blossoming and the kangaroo apple has started to bloom. I also notice the other changes around me like the noisy miners feeding their chicks and the swarming of the bugs that eat gum leaves.
In What the Robin Knows by John Young he quotes the San bushmen of Africa as saying that when they know the name of a bird a thread is formed between them and the bird. When they begin to recognise an individual bird of that species the thread grows stronger. By connecting with all the birds and plants around them, they form webs that connect them to the natural world.
I'm devouring books about plants and learning how I can grow, harvest and use them. Their history and origins fascinate me. We've been using plants for food, medicine, shelter and comfort for thousands of years. The science of their properties intrigues me - a lot of modern medicines were developed from natural sources. Aspirin gets its origin from willow bark for example.
I feel as if my quest for knowledge about the natural world and my discovery of the plants and creatures that inhabit it are giving me a deep connection and feeling of belonging. I've often felt as if I don't belong or fit in. That has shifted lately and I now feel a deep sense of belonging. I feel as if I'm growing roots deep into the earth, connecting me to this place.