Monday, May 17, 2010

Lawn Salad

Ever wander across your lawn for dinner? Here in North American w  tend to be obsessed with eradicating weeds from our lawns. I say North Americans, because this didn't seem to be the tendency from what I saw in South America, where things seem to be left just to grow, except for at Macchu Picchu, where the grass in the ruins was lush and green! I wondered if the Incas were into lush lawns when I visited. The llamas seemed to be enjoying it, and it is soothing to the eyes and soft to lie on, but it really makes no sense to kill all these wonderful edible and medicinal plants that are offering themselves up right in our yards!

Anyway, my point is that there is good eating out there in your lawn, so don't curse those weeds, and especially don't kill them with chemicals which filter down into our drinking water. I do recommend rinsing anything you pick from your lawn in case it has been sprayed, not only because of chemicals, it might have been sprayed by a dog as well. Hope this doesn't turn you off foraging. I think a lot worse goes on in factory farms and produce packing plants all over the world than a little dog pee, if that makes you feel any better.

Another great place to look for salad greens is cracks in the sidewalk or along the edge of buildings. I visited my friend Rosalee in Newport last week and scanned her street for edibles. There was a lot to eat and it was fun to point them out to Rosalee. One of the things I love about foraging is the wonder in people's eyes when I point out something they've passed by a million times is a delicious, nutritious treat! We are so conditioned to buying our food that most of us have forgotten that the earth really does provide for all our needs.

I do believe that reciprocity should be involved in our interactions with plant life--energy should be exchanged--but the energy does not have to be in the form of money to be valuable. Gratitude, for example, is a wonderful gift to give the plants you pick and eat. I always ask the plant if it is ok to pick it and I never pick a plant if there is only one or two around. I read once that the Native North Americans always walked by the first of any plant they saw and gathered the next one. I think we too often feel helpless  if we don't have money. I know I've felt this way, but when I go out foraging I feel powerfully connected to the earth and powerful in my ability to support myself. It is a grand feeling. I am so grateful to have adopted this path.

As for feeling disempowered by lack of money, this can be shifted easily by recognizing that money is simply the primary form of energy exchange in our culture. It is not evil. It doesn not corrupt. It is the desire for control that corrupts and the abuse carried out by those who desire power and control more than anything that has tainted our primary form of energy exchange. The way I see it, is those of us who desire to be part of a more just and exquitable exchange are just as powerful, especially when we come together and use our abilities to focus intention on our goals. In my world, the spirit realm comes first, then the material. If we visualize in the spiritual, we create the possibility for our desire to manifest in the physical. I call this spiritual activism and I have been practicing it on Block Island for the past several years. I don't have a lot of money to donate to The Block Island Conservancy to buy land, but my thoughts and emotions are a powerful tool to assist in the preservation of Block Island. So the next time you are feeling despair about seeing your favorite open space destroyed, send prayers its way. Send prayers also that everyone involved and connected with that land will act from their hearts for the highest good of creation. The shamanic way involves knowing from direct experience. Try it and see what happens. We are no longer living in a time where we have to take anything on faith. We are all being given the opportunity to claim our power to consciously co-create our reality. We've been doing it unconsciously for a long time and the poverty-consciousness and fear that has dominated our emotional spectrum can be witnessed in our creations. I say let's make Block Island an experiment in co-creating a new Eden! We can all run around in fig leaves!

Just kidding, I won't decree that citizens of the new Eden have to run around naked. I've seen too many weirdos down at Block Rock to believe that we don't have to do a little more healing around body and sexuality issues before that is part of our constitution. In the meantime, there is plenty of gazing at the ground to do, grazing the lawn for dainty wild greens like violet leaves, sheep sorrel, chickweed, purslane, plantain, dandelions, and maybe even a wild carrot or two, dug up with a thank you, thank you, thank you--for all this wild and wonderful life.

Here are those pictures to help you identify. First row: plantain and chickweed. Second row: sheep sorrel and wild violets. Leaves and flowers are both edible. Mmmm-I love eating flowers. Someday I want to exist on a diet of flowers alone! Now that will be some amazing energy to exchange!

1 comment:

  1. Jen - I can't really see the chickweed but I think I have lots of it. I enjoyed this post.