I just returned last night from the International Herbal Symposium. It was incredible.

To be with 700 people who think like you do, care about the same kind  of things you do, who are connected and put together like you are,  who see the world through the same lens you do, well, it’s just nourishing. There were scientists, mycologists, veterinary herbalists, botanists, shamans, and healers of all kinds. If I wanted to feel connected, I got it there. It wasn’t a specific person, although the priceless feeling of connecting with old friends, teachers, cohorts and associates was part of it.
It was the even deeper reconnection with the plant world. I was going to say “green plants” but then I remembered our keynote speaker, Paul Stamets. He is a scientist who wrote “Mycelium Running” and by the end of his presentation he had convinced me that mushrooms really are going to save the world, get us out of the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.

They are already curing cancer at a miraculous rate – talk to any oncologist, who apparently know all about it already. They can clean up toxic waste – although seriously, why do we keep having to find ways to clean up toxic “spills” ? I’d love to live in a world where people are smart enough to not have toxic waste that the plant world has to help us clean up – again.

But seriously the list of things that fungi do is too extensive to list here. (Don’t forget Penicillin.)That’s the thing about plants. They don’t yell,well, not with vocal cords, they don’t bite, unless you count Stinging Nettles and Multiflora Roses…well okay maybe they do have ways of communicating with us.

If only we’d listen.

Well, some people are listening and have been listening for a very long time.

And boy do I love spending time with others like me.

And my listening just got another shade deeper, more real, and more pertinent to my life, this weekend.