By Madison Woods
TEOTWAWKI, an acronym for “The End of the World as We Know It,” can mean anything, from the standard biblical apocalypse to an economic or environmental disaster, or even a personal crisis. Some people consider an uncertain future to be a challenge, while others fear it. Still others don’t think of the unknown at all; they assume things will go on as they always have, never entertaining the possibility that life as we know it might take a completely different turn and belie our expectations. Whether “it” is referred to as Armageddon, End of the World, Economic Collapse, WWIII, Global Warming Disasters, or the Zombie Apocalypse, “it” is a source of widespread anxiety.
Disconnect from Nature
I think part of the reason for the anxiety is because of an epidemic disconnect from Nature. And I believe one of the reasons I feel no such fear is because I have a very close relationship to Nature.
Rattlesnakes are one of the more dangerous aspects in Nature that we must learn to live with. You can read my blog post about how I used plants (not all local, though) to help my dog heal quickly and without side effects from a rattlesnake bite last month. To be aware of and respect danger doesn’t mean we need to be afraid. (By the way, the snake only wanted to be left alone. It wasn’t until the dog tried to bite it that it responded in turn.)
Media fuels this disconnect from Nature by dramatizing the dangerous aspects of nature through hyped up weather reports, with programming designed specifically to highlight the hazardous side of nature. The most popular movies focus almost exclusively on the dangerous aspects of humans in their behavior toward each other.
Remember, we are part of Nature, too.
Like watching train wrecks. No one will sit for an hour of programming about trains travelling without a hitch through the countryside, but if the viewer knows there will be a collision, he will sit in rapt attention waiting for it to happen. It’s part of our nature to be drawn to that which we cannot control. Then we want to try to control it to the best of our abilities, because that brings out our hero/savior nature.
We are dual-natured beings.
Listening to Nature
Deep in my bones I feel my purpose. I want to help people re-establish ties to Nature. By making allies and forming bonds with Nature again, we can relieve a lot of the silent anxiety. My particular purpose has to do with listening to Nature, understanding the dangers, yes, but mostly learning how to fit in with the natural order of things. I feel a close affinity for the plants, and I use them as needed.
When I or my family has an illness or injury I put that knowledge to use. I look at “misfortunes” more as opportunities so that I can continue to grow. And through my website and books, I share the wisdom of the plants with others. By advocating their sustainable use and pointing out the helpful qualities of plants, I feel I am doing them a service, too.
People do feel the yearning to reconnect to nature even if they don’t recognize the call. Sometimes their first foot is placed on the path of that journey when they become aware of our Earth Mother’s healing herbs. To help those new to this journey, I’ve completed the first of a series of books on plants that grow right around my home in the Ozarks. They grow wild and sometimes in gardens throughout the eastern/southeastern United States. (Sorry, Pam, I don’t think many of these are common in the desert states.)
10 Common Plants Worth Knowing in a Long-Term Survival Situation
The series is called, “10 Common Plants Worth Knowing in a Long-term Survival Situation.” To me, a plant is useful if it brings me closer to Nature or makes me smile. But in the books, I focus on the practical uses of the herbs, as medicine, food, tools or other useful things.
Each book includes color photos and describes the properties of the plants, the parts used, and how to harvest and prepare them for usage. The first book in the collection includes the plants shown above.
I introduce ten at a time for two reasons. If I made the book longer, the price would increase considerably and it’s very important to me that this information is available to everyone. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, many people feel overwhelmed when presented with too much information at one time.
Learning plants is a passion of mine and the journey is fun. I’ve been doing this for many years and the knowledge gained is layered year after year. Some people like starting out with all they can get their hands on, but some prefer to take it in small bites. Those are the people who make up my audience, since these books are small, on point, and less detailed than the heftier tomes available out there. I continue to work on future volumes of ten plants each.
I hope you are ready to fearlessly re-establish your own connection to Nature. If you are, I have a page on Reconnecting to Nature at my website to help you get started.
Madison Woods lives way off the beaten path in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas. She and her husband practice self-reliance and homestead 160 acres as they learn to live in and from Nature.