It started weeks ago, before the flowers had blossomed a mere leaf or two haunted the path, the week of the story walk, a whiff of peanut butter, I got closer, drawn in, a plant with intention, pulled me closer, promising powers of seduction and sleep, the child balked…..gagged…..croaked ‘ evil peanut butter…..mummy what IS that’….cursed and retched ‘don’t touch it, WHAT is it, its like peanut butter went bad mum, MUM……M….U…..M, MUM don’t photograph it, can we go now, CAN WE GO NOW…’
Even I have my limits there is only so much repetition I can interact with, repetition so well loved in stories, repetition as my sibling watches films ’til the scripts are ingrained, repetition of behaviour patterns, repetition, repetition, repeating, repeatedly, time and time again….. after a while a minute modicum of disembodiment may be required to endure, engage, empathise.
A soupcon of alcohol, a whiff of smoke….. or a tomatoful of atropine mayhap?
Therein the answer…labeless in the glasshouse, crawling weedlike across the cactus house, I had switched off somnambulantly moving outward to the gardens, hypnotised by childish repetition of repugnance, then it unfurled somewhere from dark in the undergrowth at the back of my mind….evil peanut butter?….datura? atropa? solanaceae….definitely, kisses, effusion over the clever untrained nose of the child, we waltzed cackling the length of the lawn, ate ice cream and googled….we were right.
A story or two….a Zuni tale…..Datura sp like so many of their kin are native to the Americas a plant of significant cultural importance…..
…… legend has it that from deep within the earth a boy and a girl came dancing through the cracks in the earth, eager to learn, observe and watch the people as they dwelt on the surface. Tales they wove to their mother, tales they wrought… issued as dreams to the surface people as they slept, sedated by the children’s earth heavy breath.Captivated, intrigued, entranced and watchful the twin sons of the Sun watched sure something was awry…..fleet of foot to the earth below, the Rays dawned on the baked land and watched as earth childrens soft clay like gallup approached the pueblo. Like the lure of the kiln to the pot, the children approached the twins, drawn by their warmth. The sunlit boys questioned and cajoled drawing truths from the two as they would a coat from a weary traveller, and laughing and joyous the children of the earth mother explained their ways. The boy and the girl could lull the people to sleep and bestow visionary dreams, dreams to show where lost things where hidden, whether above or below the ground. Well this was too much for the sun twins to take, knowledge dispersed: without their light being cast upon it. Too much, too much and this time as the boy and the girl took their leave and returned to the earth below, the Sun twins made sure they would stay below forever more. But the Earth mother and her children held one last memory and where the cracks in the desert appeared, the datura plant grew, and the white trumpet flowers? The very same the boy and the girl placed on the foreheads of the people to bring forth the dreams……
Solanaceae….we’ve always had a cryptic relationship…..as a child tomatoes made my mouth water and my throat gag, when pregnant I couldn’t even bear the modest potato.
We went to the botanics again the other day just to check on the plants, to be midst jungles under glass in the monsoon season passing for Scottish summer this month, it turned out to be a solanaceae hunt, Atropa Belladonna, the deep draw of the deadly nightshade, tomatoes flourishing, potatoes waterlogged but stoic………..and the Datura in full flower, trumpets galore, then a phone call…….would I be guest speaker at my dear friends book club, she wanted me to introduce Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ ‘Women who run with Wolves’ and maybe tell a story or two: (open ticketed event: 26th July see facebook page for bookings: http://www.botanicafabula.co.uk/Events.html for details https://www.facebook.com/AmandaEdmiston.Herbs.Movement.Grand.Drama ), my mind leapt I knew there was a significance here for the Solanaceae, but couldn’t quite place it, theres been a story unwritten untold floating around me for a while now, a dark tale linking premenstrual syndrome and lycanthropy, significant in that I still cant think of those creatures without a shudder, yet monthly it consumes me held in check by a fistful of needles drawing the meridians in the hands of a gifted acupuncturist, and a slug of chasteberry, I reflect on the days when I could feel it crawl through my blood, overtaking my soul as it became dark and careless, paranoid with fluid and touched by malice……this session was calling for that tale to be written, and now, well now I know why Solanaceae play a role, but you will have to wait…..wait a day maybe two, for the dark to pass, in abeyance it may be, but I cannot write of Lycanthropes this week or I will not sleep and if I do not sleep I am not pleasant, next week will do……one stories enough for now……