As I walked into the distillery barn, there to my surprise was a ginormous pile of myrtle leaves. I reached over and put one to my nose; it smelled delicious. Albrecht, the farm owner, taught me that myrtle is used to help people focus and concentrate. Often it is dispersed in the air through a diffuser during hospice situations to ease the stress when someone is dying.
My family gathered the myrtle into a huge cylinder to extract the aromatic oil from the leaves. One by one we untied the bundles and put them into the huge vat which holds two metric tons of raw plant material, approximately one English ton. Next with pitch forks, we raked the loose leaves into piles; mine was an artisan fork made out of wood.
My dad asked me to sketch the rake design so we can make it at Quiet Creek when we come home after this sabbatical. While sketching, I watched Steffi power up the “claw” to finish the job. What I called the “claw” is a huge gripper used to lift herbs into the big vat. Next we closed the distiller lid, secured the tubing, and turned on the heat. She predicted we would collect two kilograms (4.5 pounds) of myrtle oil. I love applying the metric system because it makes so much sense.
Mom headed to the rose garden to gather flowers and rest of the crew stayed in the barn to sweep up for the next delivery of herbs. Wanting to take a break, I headed over to the railing overlooking a stairwell. These steps lead to where the essential oil drips out during distillation. With my camera in hand, I jumped over top of the stairwell to the other side. This is fun, I thought to myself and then a little whisper came into my ear from God, “Don’t jump, you might fall.”
Ignoring Him, I leaped again, ducking under the railing with a one-handed clasp. Abruptly, my grip slipped off the railing and I tumbled 3 meters downwards (about nine feet), ricocheted off the cinderblock wall, bounced backwards on the metal stairs, and landed on the cement floor.
My scream echoed through the air and my mom instantly knew it was me. She dropped the roses dashing to my side; my dad had already arrived. Steffi, not familiar with children, only considered that the cat was terribly injured and ran to get her Immortelle essential oil knowing it relieves traumatic bruises on cats and humans. My brother, Walker, saw me fall and thought-- ouch. My shrieks turned into wails of “God told me that would happen!”
I eventually obtained the strength to stand up, move my extremities, and show my parents my abrasions. Mom dosed me with Steffi’s oil and later on only one spot turned greenish purple (she must have missed where I bounced on my leg). I retrieved my camera laying under the steps, untouched by the plunge, and we all thanked God for keeping me safe.
God encouraged me to journal about this miraculous mishap. I did so because I had learned my lesson and wanted to listen to God from now on. He said, “Good job, Ashton.”