Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Fruit


If you've been wandering the roads of Block Island, you've probably noticed the apple trees are full of fruit, much of it fallen on the ground. Most people just drive over the apples or leave them to rot on the ground, but I was encouraged to hear that some friends of mine foraged bucketloads and pressed their own cider, and are in the process of brewing some hard cider as well.

This is a good time to gather and preserve herbs like mullein and goldenrod to use as medicinal plants over the winter. You can look up various ways of preserving them on-line. I just like to dry them and brew them as tea when needed. I love the soft leaves of mullein. There is a wonderful poem by H.D. that mentions mullein:

THE MOON IN YOUR HANDS



If you take the moon in your hands

and turn it round

(heavy, slightly tarnished platter)

you're there;


if you pull dry sea-weed from the sand

and turn it round

and wonder at the underside's bright amber,

your eyes


look out as they did here,

(you don't remember)

when my soul turned round,

perceiving the other-side of everything,

mullein-leaf, dogwood-leaf, moth-wing

and dandelion-seed under the ground.



How can you not stop and caress them when you pass them blooming out of a stonewall?
 
And last, in honor of tonight's full moon, this photo taken at the Hodge Property a couple of weeks ago.
 


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Pear or Two

Just when I think no one is reading this blog, someone tells me they were moved to tears by reading this blog this past weekend. Not that it should matter, but I do have a strong desire to connect with others on so many levels. It's not just about sharing information about foraging for me, it's about sharing my heart--my love for Block Island and for the bounty which the island provides--and the role foraging has played in opening my heart to my own personal wounds and the wounds of the earth we have inflicted on her as we have grown disconnected from the simple desires of our bodies to feel loved and safe.

Those of you who know the island know how blown out most of us are by the end of the summer. Granted, I don't work as hard as other people out here, but I am still sensitive to the energy. I don't see it as chance that a hurricane threatened us Labor Day weekend, causing most of the tourists to leave. Though the hurricane did not arrive on the island's shores in full force, the surf was intense and huge making it impossible for me to gather seaweed. I have some great pictures of my normally placid tidepools down at Black Rock covered in whitewater, but can't publish them due to all sorts of technical difficulties with every form of technology I come in contact with these days. Even the chain on my bike broke, so I had to walk for a day until my friend fixed it for me. I heard the ocean's message--take a break, let the seaweed rejuvenate. I struggle with this a lot--making money off something the earth is giving me. Ideally I would like to live without  money, simply, bartering with other like-minded folks for our needs. I feel trapped between the world of money and the world of my dreams. It is a very uncomfortable place, but one that is leading me to take a deep look inside myself at the unconscious patterns and beliefs that stop me from living this life that I long for, and this time this is not an intellectual process, I am actually feeling the pain of separation and loss, and though this is a dark place to be in, it doesn't feel desperate like it has in the past. Maybe because someone came up to me last weekend and said my words made them cry. Maybe because a friend and I filled our scarves with so many fallen pears we couldn't even think of all the things we could do with them. Pear tarts, jelly, juice, cake. I'll keep  you updated.

There's a deer who forages right outside my window most evenings. She always seems to know when I am looking at her. She never runs away like some deer do. She twitches her ears, somewhat nervous, lets me look at her for as long as I wish. I am always the first to turn away. Maybe I will leave her a pear or two just over the stonewall today.
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