Sycamore & Mulberry
It is mulberry season. They are purple black and sweet. I hadn't ever noticed this pairing of trees before. They are in the center of the pasture, within an avenue of trees. The avenue was destined to be a roadway splitting the 80 acres, but thankfully was never built.
The horses love the shade in the 100+ degree temperatures of the Midwest. I sometimes sit beneath their branches to take in the breeze and watch the horse interacting. Their nuances of body language something that I will learn from for the rest of my days.
So I head out one day a couple of weeks ago and as I am approaching 'the tree' that I have chosen to sit beneath, I realize that it is, in fact, two trees growing as siblings. I'm not sure whether they are content about it or not, to be honest, they don't have much choice now their roots are down, but they look healthy and fairly well matched.
I look at the differing leaves of each tree and think of one, "Those really look like mulberry leaves." Sure enough, as I get closer there are those unmistakable little black berries littering the dusty ground, trodden powder fine by hooves taking shelter. "Ooh, these will be tasty!"
The bark of the adjacent tree is peeling into beautiful slices of parchment, an American sycamore. I can’t resist gathering a few curly pieces as I am stooping for the mulberries.
The herd spotted me entering the pasture a while back, I’m peacefully gathering and munching the mulberries and my fingers are starting to turn purple. Then I feel the ground thundering, and here they come!
Who would have known that the horses love mulberries so much? It was like a flash mob, and before I know it, there’s no time for putting them in my own mouth as the horses are jockeying for position to lick them from my palms.
I giggle and giggle.
Laughter is medicine and I got plenty that day!
Mulberries and sycamore are equally medicinal. Mulberries are an antioxidant. They are rich in iron, Vitamin C & fiber, and for a fruit unusually high in protein, maybe that’s why the horses go for them, leaves, twigs and all.
The inner bark of the American Sycamore is used for treating dysentery, colds, lung ailments, & measles. The outer bark has a laxative effect. You never know, maybe there are times where the horse needs some help in that department, the tree is there if they do.
I am continually being taught by my interactions with the created order how to dwell in symbiosis with it, rather like the sibling trees growing tall and healthy in the pasture. I’m happy on the inside.