Originally posted October 16, 2011, at Healing as a Sacred Path.Republished with permission of the author.
After a Sunday morning spent in church playing organ and piano for six hours, I came home to watch the Packers win, then it was time for a walk in the woods with the puppy.
It’s a sunny, windy day in west-central Wisconsin along the Mississippi at Lake Pepin. The woods are thinning out and the sun slants through them at an ethereal angle this time of year.
The leaves are raining down, though not in such numbers as a few days ago. The leaves that remain are toughing it out against 25 mph wind gusts.
When we passed the field at the top of our hill, we saw lots of milkweed pods that had burst open and the fluffy seeds were about to take off. I grabbed a handful of seeds and launched them high above the field.
They caught some wind and parachuted out nicely. The puppy found this fascinating and tried to hunt them down.
I remembered how my mom talked about her efforts as a schoolgirl to collect the downy milkweed fluff for the war effort during World War II. I later read more about that and about other important attributes of the common milkweed:
“In World War II, schoolchildren across the Midwest collected thousands of pounds of milkweed fluff to stuff life preservers for the armed forces in the Pacific, because kapok, the normal material used for this purpose, came from Japanese-occupied Indonesia and was unavailable.”
The milkweed is also, importantly, food for the monarch butterfly’s caterpillar. To keep that population healthy, we need to also nurture the common milkweed and applaud its tenacity in hayfields and ditches throughout these parts.
Just another reminder of how we are interrelated. What’s harmful to one is harmful to all. What’s healing to one is good for the whole.
A simple lesson from a beautiful fall walk in the woods.
Find a link to Karen Hanson’s blog Healing as a Sacred Path at Lutheran Blogs.