"We cross borders without regard, ignorant or arrogant of the protocol native to the transitional spaces that take us from this place to that place. Traditions remembered and practiced would maintain and pass along the right things to do, at the right time, and in the right frame of mind. Have we all become wanderers with passports un-stamped with the memory of teachings from the Ancestors and Nature? There are rituals to remember and common magic to induce respect and reverence for the beings and places that share this planet." -"Introduction" from the original medicine of The Safety Pin Cafe
On these days The Woman wore the green apron stitched especially for The Safety Pin Cafe activity; she'd been initiated long ago on one of those days only ducks love. Now a careful reader and one with memory for other stories would question that. Didn't her story take her to other places? Oh, yes, her story did take her to other places. It is the apron stitched with the likeness of a faceless woman that has passed from hand to hand, woman to woman. The Woman, in this story, had been handed the apron.
The New Moon was close, soon the dark night sky, and the extreme low tides would be here. Fresh slates a long smooth sandy chalkboard would present itself. But now, it was a gathering moon.
"What are Mullein flower's medicine?" Nene did not know the Mullein, but was familiar with the phrase, "invasive species" -- weeds. A name many humans consider the Common Mullein, or Verbascum. The Woman considered herself a novice to plant medicine, the common medicine, people's medicine; weed medicine. What she learned she gleaned with the YouTube Herbalist and practiced.
"I'm gathering the flowers to make an oil for earache. I get earaches often," She answered. The smell of squeezed onion juice and olive oil wafted from both ears. The current remedy for the congestion was like living with a good saute. In six weeks she'd have something else to try if the aches came again.
"These beauties are only here every one year, and only for a few weeks if we're lucky. I missed them completely last year; I was still early in my learning curve." She loved that she was still able to learn new things. Nene followed the little woman as she walked slowly to the stands of tall furry leafed weeds that grew on the prairie front. At the last of the gathering spot, The Woman stopped to chat to a man bent over his shovel through the wire fence.
"What're you up to today?" The man asked.
"Gathering mullein flowers for earaches."
The man muttered a muted reply. The Woman kept picking just a couple more bright yellow blossoms.
"We're going to miss you folks," he said. "We're all going to miss you."
Oh this was not the conversation The Woman was prepared for. But then, this was the place, and this was one of the humans who had made a place of affection and safety for many seasons. Nene knew the man could not see her, she was invisible to everyone except The Woman. The yama bells on her tail feathers remained silent. There was no threat here. The Woman poked the last of her gatherings into the silky smooth wetness of the olive oil, and relaxed before she said ...