"As with hunting and fishing, there is a proper way to harvest plants. For example, one should never pick the first medicine plant you see, but make certain there are plenty of others. Even then, you do not pick too many or take the largest one. Before you gather any plant, you must speak to it, ask its permission, and offer a gift — such as some tobacco or beads. Then, when you reach for that plant, it will seem to leap your hand. But if your mind is in the wrong place, if you are angry or confused or in a hurry, the medicine plants will hide from you. You cannot hear the medicine voice.

An Abenaki friend of mine went to get sweetgrass from a spot near the road where her late father had planted it years ago. She was in a hurry to get there and get back. She parked the car, got out, and wandered around for an hour trying to find the sweetgrass. Finally, sadly, she concluded that someone had pulled it all up or it had been killed by the road crews spreading salt. But when she told her mother about it, her mother's response was 'Get the car.' The two of them went back, and my friend parked right where she had been before. Her mother got out first. 'Look here,' her mother said. There was the sweetgrass, growing right next to the car."