There is a long tree branch with a forked end that stands in the corner of my bedroom. One day it will become a stang, but for now I admire the texture of it, having been stripped of its bark by a beaver. I found it by the river on Christmas morning.
There is a wand, also a piece of beaver-stripped wood, that I oiled with blessed blends of oil and herbs, that sits on my altar. There are found, shed antlers and a portion of long ago evacuated wasp nest that share space with roots and dried plant allies. Stones picked up, pressed leaves and flowers, and still, pine cones...always pine cones, find themselves tucked into any space that will hold them.
Milkweed gone to seed.
I wanted so much today, to bring home milkweed seeds. I lingered over them, just barely touching their silky 'wings' while a beaver slapped its tail in the river just beyond. I longed to harvest some of the remaining Oregon grapes I spotted, but knew I wouldn't have time to process them. I touched everything I could - barely containing myself when a gentleman and his pups walked by with raised eyes as I hovered over the edge of the riverbank reaching for the goldenrod.
There is, in humans, a biological need to touch other humans. But in some of us - the ones who hear the plants whisper and the marsh reeds sing, and who fall prey to the sharp taste of wild mustard and the thorns of wild roses - there is nothing quite like the touch of leaf and grass and flower on our skin. Nothing like the cool hardness of river rocks. Nothing ever like the strangeness of pine tree bark and the ghostly tickle of dandelion turned to seed.
I've always imagined that at the entrance to parkland and wild spaces, there should be a sign that reads: "Please Touch."