Capturing Spring Beauty-Sweet Violets

Life’s smallest details are often the most intriguing. A soft smile. The taking of one’s hand into another. Homemade cards and baking from scratch—all minor details in the grandeur of a single life, yet vitally important as expressions of love, support, and togetherness. Although small, these are the treasures most remembered.

The expressions of nature are much the same. Understanding the need for minute details, Mother Nature offers up some wonderful helpers within her rhythmic cycles. Before the trees first turned green and the dandelions graced every nook and cranny in great proliferation, I met with the humble violet. Knowing very little, but having an affinity for the name of such a delicate flower, I’ve been soaking up these violets and all they can teach me.

This recipe for Spring Tonic Honey from The Nerdy Farm Wife was perfect for an early afternoon wildcrafting adventure. Incorporating my two favorite colors, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to prolong the beauty of those small, purple-blue blossoms in a tasty, healthful treat laced with golden dandelion petals. At times as I was gathering, I had to remind myself not to become rushed. As I plucked the flowers from their stems and dropped them into my mason jar, I focused on the very essence of each flower’s being. It took quite some time to fill. Each moment I brought myself back to the meditative practice of giving thanks for the plants and my presence with them, I was enhancing my bond with the violets.

I believe we are drawn to specific plants for many reasons, even if they are unclear. I’ve always enjoyed the word “violet,” feeling its beauty roll off my tongue. After reading about the violet’s properties I feel even more confident that this is a special plant for me. Being a mucilaginous plant (one that coats bodily tissues with soothing, moistening agents when infused and consumed) makes violet a plant ally for naturally dry constitutions. Violets are neither an antidepressant nor a nervine, but in all their smallness lies a mighty power to lift spirits and bring cheerfulness to the heart.

Perhaps it’s the way these lovely plants send out their runners and spread fluidly throughout the yard that brings a smile to my face. Or maybe it is their comradery with the dandelions that complements their cool colors that makes me appreciate their presence. Since the end of February they have become more and more abundant. Now that we are approaching the first of May the violet blooms are beginning to fade. However, they will continue unrolling their heart-shaped leaves throughout the summer. If you can recognize the sweet violet without the flower, the leaves are a great addition to salads and make some delicious tea. (Here is a detailed illustration of the sweet violet.)

Violets truly bring a lot to the table—even in their smallness. They don’t ask for much and provide a gentle happiness for those of us who adore them. Their sweetness will surely be enjoyed in the floral scented honey on my shelf. Yet, even when that is gone, their small gift in the early spring will live on until next February. My heart will certainly be searching for something beautiful to melt off the winter chill by then again.