A Gypsy in New York
by Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Pre-publication preview courtesy of Ash Tree Publishing
Chapter 1.5, continued from last month…
Safely in through the Golden Door, past the Customs officials, who I feared might seize my harmless herbs if they found them, perhaps believing them to be some form of the forbidden marijuana – and they had not at all liked the look of luggage in the form of big and travel-battered baskets – I was able to gaze about me, with quieter eyes, at the New York scene.
Taking one’s eyes away from the pleasing, natural waters of the great river on which our ship still rode, I was pleased to see natural-looking rocks on one side of the harbor, and here and there clumps of trees or a solitary tree, leafless now in the month of December. All else around looked artificial, so much a show of man’s cleverness that, although as I came to know Manhattan well, and the rest of New York a little, and to find much beauty after all, I was for regretting the wigwams of the American Indians in their peaceful setting among the wild roses and the bramble thickets!
For those plants remain in leaf, green turning to gold, well into January. Now, leafless and stony grey, the inimical seeming world stretched around me and was filled with a noise of moving vehicles that was incredible in its volume and diversity and not pleasing at all.
I know that it is claimed for New York that the city has more trees than it has buildings or people, and the city officials are trying to keep the tree balance that way. But the great and old elms of Washington Square and other places in the city, stricken with disease, are falling. Can trees really live on and flourish in polluted air, and drinking dirty water streaked with petrol from the teeming motor vehicles? The air so poisoned by petrol and other fumes?
The pear tree of New York’s good and romantic first Governor, Peter Stuyvesant, has had to be cut down in recent years after its long survival through nearly three centuries. Legend has told that Stuyvesant had used one of his pear-tree boughs for a new peg leg, when he had worn down the first one through his habit of stamping with it upon the ground to emphasize his orders. I regretted that I was not to see what must have been New York’s most famous tree. And a pear tree, even an ordinary, non-famous one, is always a lovely thing in its blossom-time.
That must have looked good, the white fleeces of pear blossom, wind-tossed against the surrounding monotonous grey of the city buildings. And apple blossom also, rose-tinted on the white. Those sweet trees’ blossoms, truly refreshment to the nostrils and the soul, a contrast to the stench of the petrol fumes from the teeming vehicles, which cruelly molest the big cities of the world. New York State has fame for its apple orchards, some of which are truly vast. But those apple orchards have not given to New York its strange and endearing name of the Big Apple.
To be continued…
by Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Author of Common Herbs for Natural Health
“In Memory of Juliette the Grandmother of Herbal medicine”
A Gypsy in New York
Author: Juliette de Bairacli Levy.
In this richly detailed memoir, Juliette de Bairacli Levy – one of the founders of American herbalism – offers us a rare documentary. It is at once an herbal, a travel book and a compendium of Gypsy lore and Gypsy ways. 210 pages,
A Gypsy in New York in our Bookshop
This collection includes three great herbal medicine books and one video by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, well-known as the "grandmother of herbal medicine."
Nature's Children is a classic book on natural childrearing; it includes remedies, recipes, and fascinating lore.
Traveler's Joy is a unique guide to finding the wild bounty in simple living; Juliette covers topics such as travel, water, dwellings, medicine, and food.
Common Herbs for Natural Health is an essential herbal with lore and uses for 200 herbs including cosmetic, culinary, and medical recipes.
Juliette of the Herbs, the exceptional video included in this collection will delight, entrance, and inspire!
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by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. The classic text for natural child rearing, now revised and expanded. Back in print at last! Remedies, recipes, and fascinating lore on nourishing and healing children naturally. Introduction by Helen Nearing. 196 pages, index, 14 classic photographs.
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