I am fond of rituals, numbers, synchronicity and am always looking for the next “sign” to help me on my way and give me comfort that there are other forces at work in the universe besides my tiny brain and ego.
I love to watch for snippets of magic that happen between people, in nature and those inexplicable moments where connection occurs through visual art and music.
As a lover of the botanical world & garden geek, it will then come as no surprise to you that I have a spirit plant.
This plant has appeared at some very significant moments in my life. It is Camassia quamash, the Wild Camas and it is a bulb that produces gorgeous purple, star-like flowers that bloom up and down it’s stalk. It arrives in late April/early May and can be found in marshy areas, by rivers and in wild meadows and prairie lands.
I first discovered this plant on a road trip in eastern Oregon in the ’90’s. It affected me. I photographed it and I remember that trip laying the ground work for some very big decisions in my life, including a boyfriend break up and a move back East. I think this is when I also began to dream of a life of an artist.
Years later, in May of 2003, the purple delight appeared again. This time, in my little, urban garden in Montpelier, Vermont. I had just moved into the most adorable 3rd story apartment and unbeknownst to me at the time, was about to embark on a very fun chapter of my life. I had recently decided to go back to school to study Garden Design at Vermont Technical College and was excited to enhance my design skills and take my passion for horticulture to the next level. It proved to be a good decision and Miss Camassia’s presence in my Montpelier garden was definitely a good sign.
5 years later, I moved out of Montpelier and into an artist studio on Railroad Street in Waterbury, Vermont. It was a very cool space near the railroad tracks. I was serving beers at the Alchemist Pub and Brewery and had just decided that I needed to give this artist life a go. In this space, alena botanica was born and the Purple Queen of the Prairie reared her pretty little head again. This time it was on my back and in the form of a tattoo. Yes, the Wild Camas arches up on my back every day with her sweet little star flowers. I often forget she is there until I catch a glimpse of her in the mirror or let her peak out from behind my shirt. She is my spirit plant. She reminds me of the never ending process of re-blooming, starting over, growing and believing in yourself.
And, well… the last chapter of this story, for now that is, happened last week. I have recently re-located back out to Oregon from Vermont to enjoy a chapter living in Portland. I just discovered a Camassia Preserve, a protected Nature Conservancy area dedicated to my spirit plant. It almost brought me to tears. Just when you feel that you might not know why you make big, scary decisions and transplant your roots, a perfect sign like this appears and tells you that you are right where you are supposed to be and everything is okay. I don’t know what this sign means, but I know good things are in my future.
[This blog post was originally written in May of 2015. alena botanica was born in May of 2008 just after a visit from Alena's Spirit Plant]