Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Songs of the Green

When I was first beginning my forays into the world of plants, attempting to learn the magics and medicines contained within them, I was told that these secrets could be gleaned from the plant IF you knew its song. And if you've ever spent your time plucking delicate blossoms from stems or gathering miniscule seeds or snipping nutritious leaves, then you know that these activities allow for the mind to easily slip into light trance and welcome things unbidden into consciousness. Many of the "songs" that come to me in these moments are new to me, trails of notes that I don't recall encountering before. But sometimes there is no helping the fact that the song which seems to fit the job was one that I learned at my grandmother's knee while helping her in the garden. For example, I absolutely cannot see lilies of the valley without singing "White Coral Bells." Do you know it?

White coral bells upon a slender stalk
Lilies of the valley deck my garden walk

Oh, don't you wish that you could hear them ring?
That will only happen when the fairies sing.

This song is a particular oddity for me because, though I've been singing it annually since childhood, I can never remember the damn lyrics unless I'm not trying to remember them. I had to google them for this post even after singing the song this morning with my children! The origins of this little ditty are pretty obscure as far as I've been able to gather, but it is lovely.

A bit more idiosyncratic perhaps, and almost definitely more modern, is the song I can't avoid when we are harvesting violets, as we did today:

Dinah Shore was a witch. ;)

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