Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
The Power of Herbs
“We haven’t explored the Herb Corner of the garden yet,” said Junah Cat to Mo Mouse.
“Okay, let’s go over there. I think you’ll like the different smells,” suggested Mo.
They followed the path to the northwest corner of the garden. An array of red roses, peonies, and tulips graced the edge of the patch, but the two friends went past them and waded into the leaves, pulled by the scents of different plants.
The mint reached out to them with its tanginess. The lavender wafted gently around them and made them feel calm. The lemon balm had a citrus smell like the orange the ants had rolled away earlier in the day. The parsley had curly leaves that both Junah and Mo liked to rub against and chew on. The sage and thyme filled their noses with a wild smell. Then, Junah smelled a plant that made him want to chew on it a lot.
Mo said, “Sister Sara said that was a catnip plant. Maybe it’s for cats like you?”
“Well, it sure is something!” said Junah, as he broke off several leaves with his teeth and chewed on them. He started meowing and shaking his head. Then, he rolled on the ground, trying to get more of that catnip in him or on him. He just wanted it more and more.
“We should move on, Junah,” said Mo, motioning to him to follow along to the other side of the Herb Corner.
But Junah just meowed and even growled at Mo. It was like he couldn’t or didn’t want to do anything else but roll in this incredible smell. It just made him feel so good, like tingly all over.
Mo motioned again, and Junah snapped back at her. “Hey, Junah,” urged the mouse, “get over it. Come on, we have more to see.” She grabbed Junah’s tail to pull him away friendly-like, and Junah growled again and flipped around to chase after her. Scared, Mo jumped into the middle of a rosemary bush because she remembered Sara said it had good protecting qualities—and it had big stems that she could hide down in.
Junah jumped after Mo into the bush, rubbing his paws on the rosemary stems as he pushed them aside looking for Mo. But then a strange thing happened. Junah snapped out of his catnip fever and rolled on the ground, trying to rub the rosemary off his paws.
He backed away from the bush and from Mo, and backed all the way out of the Herb Corner. He ran over to the fence, yelping and pawing the ground under the hedges. Whatever that plant was, he had to get it off him. It was awful. Finally, he had rubbed enough dirt into his paws that he could breathe easier. He lay down on the stone pathway on his back, resting his paws in the air.
“Junah, you okay?” asked Mo, gingerly walking up to him.
“Yeah, Mo,” said Junah, turning his head to look at the mouse. “I’m sorry I scared you. What the heck was in that plant—both of them, in fact? They sure made a mess out of me.”
“The plant that you couldn’t get enough of was catnip,” said Mo. “It certainly was something cats like, yes?”
“Yikes, I felt like a different cat,” recalled Junah. “I couldn’t think straight. It was all I wanted. I was totally out of balance. I am so sorry; I could have hurt you.”
“You sure weren’t normal,’” said Mo. “I guess we just have to learn to take it easy with such things, so we don’t get out of balance.”
“I guess so,” said Junah. “What about that sticky stuff in the other plant?”
“That was rosemary,” said Mo. “Sister Sara said it could protect.”
“Well, I don’t know who it was protecting,” moaned Junah. “I couldn’t get away from it fast enough. Yuk! Those sticky leaves! That oil! That smell! On my paws! It hurts just to think about it! I was out of it there too!”
“I could see you were hurting,’” said Mo. “Somehow we all have to learn about what can hurt us, and I guess you learned about it the hard way.”
Junah’s purr: Get out of balance, get into trouble.
Stay tuned! Episode 18 will come your way in two weeks.