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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Katharine Cook writes on Flowers

Flowers as Food, Muscle and Memory

     On the Saturday evening of Geography of Hope, after finishing the volunteer duties which allowed me to attend, I was seated up on the hay bales at Toby’s (in Point Reyes, CA), preparing to watch the performances on the stage. 
Finding my view somewhat blocked, I chose a new seat to secure a better one.   Climbing up and over to it on the bales, I was startled to find a woman standing above me with a stone in her right hand.  She swung down, clobbered me on the head with it, which frightened and hurt me so much that I clambered down the bales and started running for home.  It never occurred to me to stay, to file a police report.  I just wanted to be away, safe. I ran to my apartment half a block away, locked the door and went to bed, my head throbbing from the blow.  I sought rest and relief, which I took -- gratefully -- for about a day.  Following that I sought my nurse practitioner, Ben Woodard, for diagnosis and treatment.  I had suffered a blow to the top back of my head  and advised to get a cat scan.
I very much did not want this cat scan, not the expense, nor expense of getting to Marin General, nor the discomfort and anxiety of being bound inside a machine unable to move while it revolved an x-ray camera around me.  I had already had one this year, which I was only able to tolerate with my daughter standing next to the machine, talking and singing to and with me the whole time.  It struck me that having my physical therapist, Amy Schliftmann, do an exam, might satisfy the nurse practitioner, and so I went to her next.  Amy, with her careful and extensive knowledge of the body was able to test my peripheral vision and other capacities, which demonstrated the blow had affected neither my cognitive or visual abilities. I requested a note sent to Ben stating that, and it was done. With neither my perceptions nor cognitive abilities compromised, I was just in pain. . . in the spot on the top back of my head where the stone struck, in my neck and upper back.  I was told to go home and rest, which I did. . . and continue to do.
     I also consulted herbalist, Eden Clearbrook, who suggested homeopathic arnica for  physical  injury.  A light went off inside.  “Arnica” !-- based on that cue, I decided to try arnica as a flower essence.  (Arnica montana as an herb is anti-inflammatory.)  I consulted Good Earth, they carried the flower essence, I bought it, and as soon as I ingested it felt immediate, profound physical relief.  Mood.  Based on observations in the flower essence handbook, I chose Star of Bethlehem, ornithogalum umbellatum recommended for “pain” to go with it.  And although I had none at home, I did have the five-flower remedy from FES which contained it.  I started taking flower essences arnica and five-flower remedy, 4 drops every four hours as suggested, and have since ordered Star of Bethlehem remedy from Flower Essence Services as Good Earth did not carry it.    Amy and I, it turned out, held a shared view about healing -- that the body knows how to heal itself, and will do so if given the chance.  And so I chose for myself, no cat scan, but a program of rest and flower essences four drops, four times a day.  The healing has been steady and progressive and I have recently been able to add chair Pilates exercises which include exercises for the head, neck and shoulders.
       Flowers as “food, muscle and memory”, means what?  I have always been especially attracted to growing flowers.  My father was a highly skilled gardener, an iris hybridizer and pediatrician. During iris season, mid-June in Illinois, and also the time of my birth, our garden was visited by members of the American Iris Society who came from as far away as England.  I originated and managed the flower growing at Green Gulch Farm, when the men insisted that we only grow vegetables in our fields. Then roshi Richard Baker countered that it would not be a monastery without flowers. Flowers offer sustenance to our pollinators, which are responsible for the health and longevity of our food crops, both wild and cultivated, hence “food.”  Flowers are ‘muscle’ in that they create the flexible connection between earth and sky just as muscle creates the connection between bone and skin.  And flowers are “memory” in that they carry the genes and conditions which by their annual and perennial seasonal repetitions connect past to present to future. 
     Given those functions, so specific and universal, it should be no surprise that flower essences can bring about such profound healing on the physical plane.

DC note: Katharine doesn't know who it was or why that hit her with the rock but she did report it to the sheriff's office the next day.