I’ve had these owie’s on my foot for a while. They’re way down there on my foot, out of visual range yanno, so I hadn’t paid much attention to them. My shoes broke a few weeks ago and I haven’t been wearing any (it’s crazy, I keep thinking people will notice, but they don’t), so I figured they had something to do with that, or with river adventures, or no-see-ums (these bugs that have special bites). Except for scratching them down in my sleeping bag at night, I hadn’t really thought about them at all.
Until last night when my friend asked what happened to my foot. I dunno, I said. Probably a side effect of living.
Looks like a burn, she said. Then she looked closer and pronounced that it was a spider bite and my skin was dying and I better go to the emergency room immediately to avoid losing my leg.
I looked closer, and it was hard to tell but it definitely seemed like she could be right. It was open in the middle, black around that, and red around that. I don’t go to doctors. Not that I never would. If my liver were punctured or my brain bleeding, I’d definitely do it. But for 4am spider bites, I text messaged Darcy Blue: “Spider bite. Infected. Maybe eroding. What to do?”
Darcy always knows what to do, and I feel so lucky to know her. Not only does she know what to do, in detail with consideration for influence I don’t even know about, but she woke up in the middle of the night and answered my text saying to use plaintain in and out, honey, and an immune herb. Then, apparently remembering my recent aldering: “Alder! Poultice and tea!”
I imagine Darcy rolling over in bed, opening one eye in the dark, and text messaging her wisdom to me all the way from the desert.
Wisdom transmitted, I walk (barefoot, of course), out into the four am rainy darkness and pick some Alder leaves and Plantain. “What the hell are you doing?” my friend asks.
“Picking plantain,” I tell her.
I chew up both plants and spit them on the bites, cover the whole thing with an alder leaf, and tape it down. Then I used my friends kitchen to boil up a strong tea with the alder and plantain. I like the way alder tastes. Strong, like a cross between wintergreen and yarrow.
When I wake up eight hours later, the main bite is red in the middle with a big soft grey area around it. Uh oh. I call Darcy and she says to add yarrow to the poultice and tea. I open the door and pick some, because life is that beautiful and medicine follows me.
New poultice, new tea. A few hours later I take a bath, and when I get out I put a couple drops of yarrow and rose tinctures on it and smear some honey over that.
And now it is almost all better. Just a pink area with a little scab in the middle, thanks to Darcy and the alder trees.