Clearpath Herbals

Nature and Herb Walks in Western Massachusetts: Mt. Toby and Beyond

by Owen Wormser

Plant Medicine and Nature Walk at Mt. Toby: Herb Lore and Sensory Awareness Skills

This coming Sunday, May 22, Chris Marano of Clearpath Herbals and I are teaming up to lead the first in a series of four herb walks at Mt. Toby in Leverett, MA.

On our own and together, Chris and I have spent a lot of time in the diverse wilderness ecosystems of Western Massachusetts. It has been our desire to merge our knowledge and experiences of the natural habitats of this region and share that with people who love nature and wish to engage it in a fresh way.

This walk will be more than a fact-filled cataloguing of the unique plant diversity of Mt. Toby. We will also share the way in which we both love to experience nature, with clear awareness and a deep and quiet respect, so that we may more fully and directly engage with our surroundings, expanding our ability to truly listen, look, and feel. We have both found that when we do this, nature reveals herself in profound and even magical ways.

Experience Natural Connection at Mt. Toby, an Extraordinary and Diverse Ecosystem

Recently, while scouting the location for our upcoming walk at Mt. Toby, a barred owl flew over the car as I parked. Being that close to such a magnificent creature – owls are one of the few birds that can fly completely silently – is always an amazing experience. This incident reminded me about how important it is to take the time to consciously connect with the natural world. This may seem simple, even obvious, but when done with care and reverence, connecting with the Earth allows us to more easily uncover our intrinsic connectedness with all life – and nothing is more valuable than that!

Owls have been reminders for me to remember to focus on creating the time and space to commune with the energetic aspect of the natural world – the very presence of the Earth and the living things inhabiting it. When I’ve allowed myself to do this, I’ve often found myself in a mysterious realm that can be seen and felt but cannot be fully be explained.

Discover How Nature Reveals Itself to the Quiet Mind During Our Unique Plant Medicine and Herb Walks in Western Massachusetts

Through such experiences, I’ve noticed that when humans take the time to connect to the natural world, we are more likely to remember the Spirit-Which-Runs-Through-All-Things. Call it what you will; it is the consciousness that permeates all living things and in the presence of the natural world, it tends to be easier to uncover this innate intelligence. If we take the time to do this consciously, we create an opportunity to step away from the contrivances of the human mind and towards our true nature.

This walk on May 22 is a guided meditation that explores the mystery of that connection.  Additionally, this walk is also an exploration of the parts that make up the whole: identifying plants, discussing their medicinal value, exploring the geology of the place, the animals that live there, etc.

It turns out that Mt. Toby is a very special place botanically. It is home to more orchid and fern species than virtually any other single location in New England. The area where we will be spending time is home to some of these species. We will discuss how to interact with the delicate beauty of these plants so they can be appreciated without adversely affecting their fragile world.

And as we practice building our awareness we might even see some rare Showy Orchis – or maybe an owl.

Keep an eye on the Cleathpath Herbals calendar for all news on our special series of plant medicine and herb walks in Western Massachusetts.