Recently Michael and I felt the need to take an evening drive and check on the tall spires of Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis ) which we collect beginning in late July. We could tell a storm was on brewing above the Olympic Mountains to the south and the timing was perfect to gather some herb before the rains came and delayed harvest. At our favorite collection spot in the drying grasses adjacent to a cattle pasture, the rich conical heads shone golden-yellow in the setting sunlight.
Thousands of sun-drenched blossoms, each its own golden-rayed orb, attract a myriad of pollinators hungry for nectar to store for winter. It also hosts insect herbivores and predators all utilizing some aspect of the plant or those that come to visit it.
Goldenrod has a spicy aroma and citrusy flavor which I find numbs the tongue slightly when chewed raw. It has a solid place in folk lore medicinals with many applications including treating urinary tract infections, alleviating allergies including cat allergies and hay fever, reducing sore throats and fevers, and relieving muscle soreness. Michael makes a soothing and effective muscle salve using coconut oil as the base. I use it to ease muscle stiffness and as an ankle rub to remove edema.
After a successful gathering, the throaty wild call of a bald eagle caught our attention and we watched as it flew to a tall snag overlooking the valley backlit by a faint rainbow gracing the darkening sky.
The distant rumbling of thunder beckoned us back into our car and we drove along the rim of the valley taking every advantage to see the majesty of the storm sweep through. The sky above the Dungeness Cemetery was particularly picturesque.
Once home, the Goldenrod was put away to wilt for an evening, computers shut down, and we continued to watch the storm and rain squalls sweep across the valley, lightning crisscross the sky, and the trees start to sway as winds picked up the smell of dust and then of damp earth. I waited in anticipation when suddenly a bolt was launched in front of me that jarred my nerves and left an imprint on my retinas. I stepped back under the porch overhang as the heavy, cold drops descended smelling of mud.
Later as the storm passed, the sun sinking quite low on the horizon found spots to break through the lowest layer of cloud cover casting a deep, golden-yellow glow punctuated by horizontal flashes of lightning. A perfect ending to an evening quest for Goldenrod.
Until our next journey together, may peace grace your lives. ~ P