Decay & Renewal: Rose Hips in the Cemetery

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my mother's death. I couldn't decide how to honor the day, but when the opportunity arose to harvest rose hips in an old cemetery with friends I knew it was just the balm my heart needed. 


I live in gold country, and there are a number of Gold Rush era graveyards around here. I've always loved old cemeteries, and we've got some of the best. 

(Side note to parents of young children- cemeteries are a great place to take little ones to play. Wide open spaces. No bully kids or nightmare parents to deal with like at playgrounds, but just as many opportunities for gross motor movements to be practiced and skills honed, especially the old cemeteries with lots of things to climb up and jump off of.)


A friend had suggested this spot for finding rose hips for our Extra Potent Elderberry Elixir, and I'm so grateful she did! The rose bushes were INSANE! An herbalist's dream come true. Hundreds of ripe hips exploding in a red firework of sweet healing. 


Owen and our friends Beni & Cassandra and I all took turns harvesting and holding Nixie (but I did most of the nursing ;-). Cassandra is pregnant with their first and we are soooo excited to be having babies at the same time as them!  


We harvested more than I dreamed we'd be able to and there are still a ton left on the bushes. I can't wait to go back and get some more, and also spend more time walking around the cemetery and reading the old tombstones. They just don't make 'em like they used to.


Speaking of, these bushes are straight up growing on top of graves. Owen said there were small headstones directly underneath one of them.  

All plants thrive thanks to the decay processes that make their soil rich with nutrients, but I especially love that these exuberant, extremely healthy rose bushes have been growing over human bodies for 150 or so years. 


Now that's some potent magic, the recycling of forms and molecules, the resurrection from death to life.  

It was the perfect meditation for me as I took stock of what it means to have been without my mom for a year now, and to face the rest of my life without her. And I, once again, felt immense gratitude for the person she was and how the loving matrix she raised me and my sister in has allowed us to blossom into our truest selves. 


Out of decay, renewal.  

Out of dirt, medicine.  

Out of death, life.