Last week, our herbalist team (Patti, Barb, T. and Sue) were desperate. Our herbal clinic was becoming the victim of its own success. We were running dangerously low on herbs. For the low income patients that had come to rely on these herbs to help them with wounds, blood pressure and anxiety, this was a critical situation. If they could not get access to donations channeled through Occupy Medical, they would simply go without. It was a serious situation so we put out a plea for help. (See the post below.)
Almost immediately, we received an answer to our clarion call. One local herbalist, Tree Knowlton, who has been connected to the clinic since it’s inception, opened her cupboards and generously brought us a shoebox filled with both bulk tinctures and bottles to repackage them in. The variety was as much of a blessing as the quantity of the herbs. Everything was beautifully labelled and organized. I would expect nothing less from Tree. She is a fabulous woman.
Later, another local herbalist answered the call. Sherri Brown, whose class I had the privilege of taking a few years ago, offered another box just brimming with tinctures. It was almost magical to see how many of the herbs that she donated were on our “dangerously low” list. These are herbs that she had taken such care to harvest and preserve. These were plants that she put love and care into and were sharing with us – no strings attached. It was a beautiful gift.
Just when we were getting comfortable with the idea that our clinic may survive after all, another local herbalist answered the call. Gerry Shapiro, the owner of Merry Hempsters
, drove his truck into town loaded with boxes of herbal donations. Gerry had been a generous donor when Occupy first started, we were happy to have him back.
Our herbalist team was gathered at Sue’s house for a meeting. Our jaws dropped as Gerry started filling Sue’s driveway with box after box of fabulous herbal offerings. He shared jars of herbal oil that shone with vitality, bags of dry herbs just begging to be popped into liquid tincture goodness and a lion’s share of empty jars for processing.
These were all items coveted by herbalists everywhere and our hands shook with delight. As I examined each bag of dry herb, the faces of the patients that dearly needed this medicine passed through my mind. I could not wait to share these treasures with them. Gerry smiled at our questions. He gave processing advice and batted ideas around for other ways of using these herbs for the special needs of our unhoused patients. Before he drove away, he gave us all hugs and offered more donations whenever we needed it.
All of these gifts arrived within a few days of each other. Our herbalist team is overwhelmed with the generosity of our community. People keep asking us how we find the time and the energy to do what we do every week, rain or shine. Sometimes our project seems so big – too big. This week gave us more than resources, it gave us the courage to carry on.