After our “Friends of Herbs” program Wednesday morning at Seven Ponds Nature Center, I drove south twenty-one miles to my favorite grocery store. I’ve learned the aisles in Fresh Thyme, where to find ginger root (more accurately a rhizome) in their produce section.

Jeanette Farley, a co-chair of our group, had demonstrated making ginger juice, a tasty health boost she adds to beverages. “It’s a warming herb that improves heart health,” she said, and named other benefits.

A believer in ginger’s medicinal properties, I’ve steeped fresh ginger and lemon slices together in hot tisanes (herbal tea) for years. And when my palate desires a delicious Scottish scone, I’ll add chopped crystalized ginger, lemon zest, and dried lavender buds for complimentary flavors.

In the long, sunny drive to my destination, I wondered why chicken-ginger-garlic and vegetable-ginger-garlic stir-fry retired from my main dishes without proper notice.

Thus, I said to self, “Add fresh ginger to your grocery list.” As Jeanette helped me plant my first garlic patch years ago with cloves from her soft and hard neck varieties, I grow my own garli – and walked by Fresh Thyme’s garlic display with a smile.

Two hours later in my kitchen, I emptied my grocery bags to discover I’d forgotten to write fresh ginger on my list. Hmm…some sources report ginger extract “helps improve cognitive performance and memory.”

All the more reason to consume ginger juice. It’s not just for your heart and joints. Add it to your daily water intake.

Needing to stretch my legs and raise my pulse, I laced up my hiking boots at 4 p.m. and opened the basement door to the robin’s song.

No. Hundreds of robins perched in our evergreens engaged in a boisterous conference. One sweet bird after another chirped their little heart out as if giving a lecture on how to praise the Creator for the lovely, sunny day.

Should I fetch my binoculars to find and observe their spokespersons? No again. I stood compelled by their music and the nourishing moment with my eyes lifted to receive the sun’s Vitamin D and C.

Did those darling red-breasted choristers, those hardy Michigan hangers-on, confuse this February thaw with spring?

Regardless, I seized their joy and turned the corner of the house.

Lo and behold! The birds flew from the trees and followed me to the front yard. What a sight to see! Droves of red bellies and black wings sweeping, dipping, soaring above me. Many found branches in the front yard, some dining on crabapple tree berries.

Chirping. Chirping. Chirping. Thanking me for planting trees for them to build their nests and hide from predators. “My pleasure entirely,” I said.

Dear Reader, robins sang in the hedgerows along the road as I walked by. They greeted me in the old oak beside our driveway. They feasted on crabapple berries from the tree planted in memory of our deceased daughter.

Blessed life, singing a perennial song our Earth offers to warm our souls. Good medicine, indeed.

Contact Iris at