The Living Earth Bearberry & Labrador Tea
by Michael Robinson
The Earth holds the memories of all lives lived since the beginning of time, stored in the soil beneath our feet. Every song, every emotion and every word spoken leaves a shadow behind, marking its place in the never-ending passage of years.
These shadows, these ghostly footprints of time-passing, are either the good energy or the bad of lives lived. They are our memories interwoven with the other lives we shared, whether equal in purpose with ours or alone in intent, but always in a struggle of balanced stewardship.
This timeless collecting of memories is the Earth’s reminder to us that we are more of a burden to her than a benefit. She turns the wheel of time with the tips of her fingers, so each life lived is kept alive, yet each life is a ghost, following behind us like a small breeze. In the dark of night they become whispers, child-like songs that cling to our very souls. The beauty of the Earth is the greatest gift we have been given. It is the path we all travel.
Bear berry is a trailing shrub with small dark green round leaves. Its flower is white to pink and hangs in small bell clusters. The berry is red and is one of the first foods that bears can eat in the spring, giving it its name. This plant is also called Kinnikinnik. The leaves can be dried and used as a tobacco.
Bearberry is also a healing plant: the leaves can be brewed into a tea for bowel disorders.
Labrador tea is also classified as a shrub, but looks more like a small tree branch growing out of the ground.
The leaves are very distinct in their appearance. They look like slender canoes. Dark and fuzzy on top, underneath the sides are usually rolled inwards.
The leaves of this plant make an excellent brewed tea; great as an evening drink. I have heard it is good for just about any ailment but most commonly as a cure for insomnia The leaves, as a poultice, are effective for burns, poison ivy, rashes and insect stings.