A “Preemie’s” Parallel: Mullein, the Plant

Ladder-back woodpecker on mullein

Eureka! A life parallel revealed itself this morning. Yes, we are connected to nature—but it takes observation—which takes time and patience.

Forget about the laundry stinking up the laundry basket. I’ll spray it with perfume for the time being.

Soiled dishes piling up on the kitchen counter. Ah—let them remind me of the wonderful meal we had last evening. There’s no timer on when they should be cleaned.

Begin stringing outdoor holiday lights so that we can begin the seasonal celebration after our Thanksgiving feast? There’s five more days to do that. Besides, who made the rule that the outdoor light spectacular must begin Thanksgiving evening?

How about the paper mountain on my desk? Bawahahahaha. I’ll get to it. Someday.

And an unexpected job put-off realized today: I’M NOT GOING TO TIDY UP THE POLLINATOR GARDEN FOR WINTER! Jack Frost completed his devastation on the tall stands of seedy cosmos, echinacea, and a host of other formerly show-stopping blossoms. And the birds, I discovered today, absolutely love it.

The biggest gift of all? Finally, over a year later of transplanting the magical mullein plant, this morning a female ladder-back woodpecker visited the suet feeder and then spied that magical plant. And I actually had my 300 mm lens attached to Oly (my Olympus OM-D camera), with a clean disk ready to capture the morning’s discovery.

So, notice to all tidy gardeners: My pollinator garden will remain untidy until there’s nothing left for our winter visiting birds.

This lesser goldfinch visited the frost-bit cosmo this morning

(My only regret is that the woodpecker was not a yellow-bellied sapsucker. I just want to say it.)
Yellow-bellied sapsucker. yellow-bellied sapsucker. yellow-bellied sapsucker.

When I blogged about the mullein plant last July, no bird, to my knowledge or eyeballing, has landed on the 5’.5” plant. Drat! Admittedly, I kept the plant to enable me to capture that magnificent photo of a bird dining on the mullein’s seeds. I also felt a connection to mullein. No, I’m not going all Earth Mother on you—sort of. But the mullein’s life purpose has paralleled mine.

Life parallel explained:

Like the mullein, I was seeded in difficult soils (womb). I was a post war lover’s Whoops! In other words, my parents married incognito in Yuma, Az, conveniently three months after my conception. Until I found my parents marriage license on the internet, in my adulthood, I thought I was a preemie. At least that’s what all the grown-ups told me, ignoring the fact that I weighed 8.5 pounds at birth, with a full head of dark brown hair. I was one heck of a preemie!

Skipping all the heartbreaking details of a life of a post-war “preemie,” I managed to grow in a difficult environment and produce fertile seeds of my own. That rewarded me with two amazing, fantastic, incredible, breath-taking daughters. Like the magic of a mullein plant growing and producing healing and useful leaves that remain a steady component for herbalists, campers, and enthusiasts like me; and those seeds that provide nourishment for nature’s hungry avians ( probably a few ground-based creatures too), that finally gave me and Oly a photo op, I’m bursting in gratitude.

Summertime Mullein

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