Partridge Berry

Wild plant medicine walk with naturalist Laurie Lacey

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Last September, we had the pleasure and honor to accompany wild plant medicine maker and naturalist Laurie Lacey on a walk through the fields and old growth forest on the property where he has lived all his life.

I recently purchased Laurie’s book Medicine Walk for my husband Mat, who has a deep interest in the healing and spiritual world of plants and a strong desire to seek out herbal Elders, like Laurie.

Laurie can be credited for first introducing Mi’kmaq medicines to the non-native communities of eastern Canada. He gained much of his knowledge from Mi’kmaq Elders in the 1970s. For this, we are so grateful.  We also recognize that we have a responsibility to seek out and learn from Elders today.

When we learned he was leading guided medicine walks this Fall, we jumped at the opportunity. I sensed Laurie would be a kindred spirit, and we all felt an instant connection to this lovely human.

wild plant medicine elder

The four of us – Mat, the girls, and myself – drove up to his quiet spot in Hebbs Cross. Two others joined the group a few minutes later. We were all eager to get going. It was a very hot late summer day, so the field walk was intense at nearly noon, but retreating into the old growth forest was divine.

It was wonderful to see my eldest, Eleanor, so comfortable and confident with Laurie. She is passionate about plants, very interested in their medicinal properties, and remarkably observant. Laurie was impressed by some of her discoveries and questions.

We feel so fortunate that we can provide this experience for our children and nurture their interest in medicinal plants and the natural world.

Laurie’s storytelling and easy, joking manner are enchanting. I loved hearing nostalgic stories of his childhood spent in the forest and his teenage years learning all he could about healing plants in the company of his older brother.

Even with all of his knowledge and experience, Laurie remains curious and playful and clearly holds such a deep respect for traditional native plant medicine.

I know, personally, that the more I learn about plant medicine, the less I feel I know and the more complex it all seems. I imagine after many decades of study I would feel very humbled indeed!

plant medicine elder
Laurie gently reveals the rhizome of Goldthread, also known as Canker Root. Goldthread can aid digestive issues, regulate blood sugar, soothe irritated skin, heal canker sores, and has other benefits as well. I tried it and it has a bitter taste.

I noticed how gently he handled plants along our walk. He tucked roots back in gently after showing them to us. He touched every tree and engaged with each plant in a way that acknowledged their life force. It is wonderful for children to see people engage with plants in that way, as they are inclined to peel away bark and break apart plants (also important forms of exploration).

I was joking with Laurie that the kids were dismantling his old growth forest one piece at a time, but he played along with them, pretending to chomp on the pieces of decomposing tree they offered him.

Thank you so much Laurie for this memorable day and for sharing your beautiful spaces and knowledge with our family. We look forward to walking with you in all seasons.

If you would like to experience a Wild Plant Medicine Walk with Laurie, you can contact him to arrange a group walk or join him on one of his planned walks on his land in Hebbs Cross, Lunenburg County. You can find more information on his website.

You can find Laurie’s books locally in independent book stores, borrow them at the South Shore Public Libraries, or buy Laurie Lacey’s books on Amazon.


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