At the Green Bottom Wildlife Management Area, there is a field of goldenrod, which bloomed several weeks ago as Mother Nature’s hello as spring finally arrived. More than 100 species of goldenrod exist, and 26 of them can be found in West Virginia. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to frolic around with these flowers one early morning, and found myself more connected to the earth than I had been in a long while.
Goldenrod’s scientific name, solidago, means “to make whole or heal,” and was once considered a prized herbal supplement in China and England. As a natural healer, it can treat UTI’s and kidney stones, soothe inflammation and arthritis, and reduce cold and flu symptoms. Thankfully for me, goldenrod is not a cause for hay fever, but actually helps aid those who suffer from hay fever and allergy season. Goldenrod is pollinated by insects instead of the wind, plus it’s pollen is too heavy to become airborne anyway, so it won’t cause an allergy attack. Early Native Americans would chew on the plant to alleviate sort throats or toothaches. Also, I found that my Appalachian Mountain ancestors often used goldenrod in blue mountain tea to combat fatigue, which sounds like something this modern day hippie should try.
During my time at Green Bottom, I walked through this field with dew still on the leaves, the moisture and flowers clinging to my dress and boots. Even after I returned home, the sunny petals returned with me, covering my porch like confetti. If someone were to ask me my favorite flower, I doubt I would at first say goldenrod. If they asked my favorite color, the answer would not be yellow. However, there is just something about a flower so bright and wonderful that instantly cheers you up. Perhaps because it is the color of the sunshine, a fresh glass of lemonade, your grandmother’s wallpaper that makes you smile at the shade. Whatever it was, the glimmer of goldenrod in this field during the early morning hours of the day surely brightened my spirit. Mother Nature’s golden flora grounded me to this earth with her first wave hello to sunny days ahead.
Photos by Melissa Stilwell Photography.