Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teaching: a focusing effect

Years ago, over coffee, a fellow mom from my daughter's elementary school said to me, "So, I'm thinking of taking a lover."

That moment comes to mind when I think, "So, I'm thinking of taking an apprentice."

A few awkward phone calls later, that long ago mom let the idea drop. But my apprentice "interviewed" last Friday and helped inventory the herbs yesterday: first the bulk tinctures and then the bulk dry herbs, correcting the errant filing along the way. As she got started, I worked at the nearby stove, making a salve.

I mixed oils and added beeswax. And something occurred to me. "As you go through the herbs, reading their names and holding the bottles, pay attention to any name that peaks your interest or draws your attention." Herbal insights that just drop in are meaningful, a hint at the symbiotic existence between us and them.

At day's end she left with a baggie of Hyssop, insisting that she was getting the better end of this deal. I'm a realist. This deal will have it's up and downs. But at first blush, I'm appreciating the focusing nature of sharing this big love of my life. Distilling the years of gathering and paying attention to what drops in and asks to be shared.

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