Tina, from The Essential Herbal magazine, challenged bloggers to go outside and find something "inconsequential" to blog about. I grabbed my digital camera and wandered into the garden. I spied (with my little eye) butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) setting seed. You can see that it is in the milkweed family by its seedpods. Butterfly weed (not to be confused with butterfly bush) is also known as pleurisy root as the root is used to treat, you guessed it, pleurisy. The pleura is the membranous lining around the lungs and pleurisy is inflammation of the pleura.
Back to the seed pods...I had gathered some a few days ago and had set them aside to let them dry completely. Then came the task of separating the fluffy bit from the seed. As a child, whenever I saw a milkweed seed fluff in the air, I always exclaimed, "Fairies!" and ran to catch one. If I did catch one, I would close my eyes and make a wish. Then, with a gentle breath, I would blow the seed from my hand and if it got carried on the breeze, the wish was taken to the fairy queen to be granted. Fast forward a few decades and here I am separating the fluff from seed, putting fluff in one pile and the seeds in a bowl. An errant whisper of air manifested and raised all the fluff in a spiral of dancing fairies. How delightful! Enough fluff to grant many wishes! But as I am so blessed with many granted wishes in my life, these fairies are not for me, but are to float along on the currents, perhaps floating into your garden, ready for your wish. So get out into the autumn air, inhale deeply and keep your eyes to the sky...is that a fairy you spy with your little eye? Best wishes!!