Posted by on Feb 6, 2012 in Photographs, Sacred Plants | 0 comments

In my office, in a place of honor on the top of my bookshelf, sits what was once a simple gourd.  You’ve probably seen gourds in their traditional fall colors as decorations during the autumn season and in Thanksgiving displays.  These very thick-skinned fruits are found in the same family as the squash and cucumber. My very special gourd was once disguised as a non-descript fruit which people often mistakenly call a vegetable.  But now, it fulfills a more important role.

When dried and hollowed out, gourds carry precious water or, in some societies, the special tea, called yerba matte.  Although my gourd could carry water, it does not.  Painted with careful brush strokes, this lowly vessel was transformed into a cheerful and loving angel. The woman who made it for me has since passed from this earth.

Whenever I see her handiwork, I remember her trials and struggles, her commitment to living life to the fullest, and her affection for me. Because she did not have money to pay for my services, she gave me this reminder of herself which is filled with her deep appreciation for the work we did together.

~Cathy Chapman~

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