Consider this a popping up for air from the utter madness that is the holiday season. Because it has been utterly mad, and I'm loving every minute of it, albeit not having that much time to write the last few weeks.
But in the meantime, I have one extra December surprise box that I am going to give away to some lucky person out there. December’s surprise box is my favourite of the year. Partly because I get to spend my time up in the mountains gathering various coniferous treats, and partly because of the way my office smells in the process of experimenting with different recipes. But mostly its just because conifers are and represent something old, something wise, something bigger than our little time as humans, and I love being able to immerse myself in that for a month.
Most of our old-growth conifer forests are dying, be it beetle or wildfire. This is an odd time, we’re teetering on a precipice and on the other side of it is a world without these forests. My goal isn’t to depress you— there’s a grand scheme and we humans are but a blip on it. This planet will be here long after we’re gone and it will continue to evolve with or without our helping it along. But this precipice, this coming change, its one that is sad simply because these places will no longer exist, and one day there won’t be anybody around who even experienced them.
These forests, these big old trees, are connected to earth time, old time, ancient time. Tree medicine is wise medicine, old medicine, and working with big old wise trees connects us to that in a very direct and life-changing way.
Other than that, conifer medicine is:
Uplifting: The scent of conifer needles, resin and bark is incredibly uplifting to the spirits. Think of how the smell of pine is bright (its full of vitamin C) and how that vitamin C brightness that tastes like sunshine feels in the dead of winter. Think of how, on a bad day, a walk through a quiet pine forest can change your perspective entirely. Conifers, due to their age, their size, the fact that they operate on archaeological time as opposed to brief human time, take us outside ourselves, remind us how small it all actually is, how brief, how ephemeral, how sacred.
Moving and warming: Conifer resin is warming, stimulating, moving. It opens things (lungs especially) and brings circulation to areas where circulation is lacking. Nibbling on conifer resin while hiking at high elevation opens the lungs dramatically. Nibbling on conifer resin while congested opens the lungs and dredges up all the stuff stuck in there. Applying conifer resin infused in oil, or coniferous essential oil to limbs stimulates circulation in the dead of winter, keeping the fingers and toes warm and the blood moving.
Healing: Scratches, bumps, abrasions. Conifer medicine applied to the skin stimulates circulation to that area and with that circulation brings healing.
Awareness: This stimulation, the bringing of circulation and energy, it stimulates awareness. Something you notice when walking in the mountains under grand old firs and pines, or walking amongst the coastal redwoods. You become aware, in a different sense. Sounds start standing out, a bird lands on a limb and for a second you can’t tell whether its yours or a tree’s, the forest moves in unison with the breathing beat of the earth and when you’re out there you all of a sudden start breathing with it. Its a dance that we all fall into naturally, and in this our awareness shifts, expands, grows bigger and with that size it understands more about the scale of life. In other words, conifer forest awareness makes our problems smaller and as a result makes us wiser and older in spirit. It is good medicine to have in your back pocket. And now you can have it too.
December’s surprise box is an exploration of this. White fir, piñon pine (4 different types!), Jeffrey pine, Douglas fir, coastal redwoods. Medicine from the forest, to stimulate, lift the spirits, and connect you to that old earth energy.
One lucky person is going to win one of these!
To enter the giveaway:
Be sure to leave a comment for each of these things that you do, because I'm picking a winner randomly from the comments.
Winner will be announced on Sunday night.