I am blessed with a connection to a wonderful 11 year old girl, born in Pisces. She frequently manifests magical inclinations and inspirations, but she is also a child of her time, somehow trapped to some extent by the almost irresistible mesmer of the screen. For these children and those who care for them, and try to do so with Awareness, dealing with information technology's pull can be challenging. What is left of the child's attention after a couple of hours of “screen-time” very often includes a mesh of agitation and boredom. And this includes the times when the tech is being used creatively. There is something about technologies that are based on artificial imagery that is inherently debilitating.
So it always comes as a refreshing breath of fresh air when a child is effortlessly drawn to the sand, to the sea, or in this particular case, trees. We were walking along in a small wood when the girl became instantly very interested in the cracking barks of the trees around us. She immediately gained an extraordinary focus and knew instantly what she wanted to do. So she collected the parts she could pick from the trees, kindly asking the tree to shed and duly thanking her. Her plan was to make teas and food flavouring out of the barks. The collection stage went on for hours. By the evening we were still washing, drying, crushing and grinding. The girl knew what she wanted and what to do, so I gladly acted as an assistant.
This was the call of the wild, the witch's instinct in the child, the healer arising to the surface. The activity had a peaceful force to it. To watch it unfold before my eyes and be part of the process was in itself an inspiration. The girl had no idea that tree barks are actually used in medicines and teas. It was something that nature gave her as an inner suggestion. Luckily she was open to the call. We experimented with how to best bring the flavour and nutrients out of the barks. For us it worked best to crush and grind the barks into powder (much like coffee) and tuck them into a small coffee machine. Then we added hot water to taste as this method produces a very strong and dry taste. For sweetening we added some honey and it worked nicely. If the reader decides to try it they will find their own ways.
Apparently, as I found out through a quick internet search, tree bark is used for a variety of applications and has many benefits. These you can easily find on the web. But what interested us was a benefit of a different kind.
Satisfied after our days work I commented to the girl that drinking the bark tea was having a strange and subtle effect on me. She agreed and immediately put my sensations into words, proving that it
was a common feeling. She said, based on her experience of tasting coffee once, that the bark had produced in her a kind of alertness and sense of well-being, comparable to that of coffee, but without the agitation.
The past night I woke up at 3.30am worried about a challenging situation. As per routine I approached my coffee machine to make coffee, convinced that I would not get another chance at sleep anyways, considering my inner agitation. The Wind had turned and I could feel the wise dryness of the North wind in my being. I decided to break my routine and make bark tea instead.
The calming effect of the tea made meditation possible, and eventually an invigorating sleep until sunrise.