Well, sort of easy..! Here are some words and pictures about that.
A few weeks ago I set up a small camp near Wolf Lake, a beautiful small lake in the vicinity of the school. Since then, I’ve been going there every few days to spend a night or two. I’m exploring the area to get a feel for the topography and the animal and plant relations that are there, and also foraging for various edibles.
It’s especially gifting to go out with no food, thus creating that healing space for my body and mind to first rest from overstimulation (that’s right.. lots of naps and long nights of sleep!), and then for the hunger to drive me to be sensitive to my surroundings and passionate about food-gathering.
I do miss the human people in my life, and I’m noticing a sense of gratitude and joy which washes over me when I get back to my circle after every excursion. I hope that others will start joining me in these outings at some point soon. Gratitude also comes from opportunities to serve others. I gather wild greens like Milkweed and Basswood to bring to the table on the way back, share stories about my adventures, and jump in to help with various aspects of the operation of the wilderness school.
As far as the feeling go – it’s a great time to sit and reflect on what’s coming up for me in my life. Sometimes there is much more than I realize when I’m surrounded by distractions. After the rains passed one day, I did not want to get up – my head was churning away at various issues in my life for which I had no answers. And then I remembered that any big undertaking is a series of small steps. So I sat up. Then I put my shoes on, then unzipped the tent and stepped out into the mosquito hum of the “outside.” The smell of the recently passed raid enlivened me, and after some washing up off I went, exploring, foraging, observing.. I entered the real world.
THE REAL WORLD
First.. some interesting things found along the way in these woods.
An animal hole. So many questions!
I sense a disturbance in the Tree Force.. what happened?!
Bear has been before me! I see his tracks through the Raspberries, and in the mud of the wetlands. Here is an anthill disturbed by him. Teach me your foraging ways, mighty one!
On an empty stomach, I went out to find calories, nutrients.. the gifts of my Forest relations.
Mmm.. ant larva! Actually, there wasn’t much to be gathered here. I’m still dreaming of learning how to get good at raiding those anthills effectively and efficiently.
TONS of raspberries right about now! I ate them for hours. My poop looks quite interesting! Didn’t think to take a picture of it though.. maybe next time!
Grasshoppers. Ahhh.. you are so big and fatty, yet how do I catch you! Catching this guy was quite the adventure! The hop away. In the grass. And then, they are gone.. I did come to that same meadow in the morning, hoping to find them less mobile during the coolness of the early day.. well, I couldn’t find them at all! Perhaps a net of some kind is in order?
Worms. Probably high in protein. In the space of maybe 1 hour I collected about 20. After letting them sit overnight in a container, and purge the sand, I cooked them with hot rocks. There was barely anything left! Perhaps if I had a way of collecting many more, it would be efficient..
Beaked Hazelnuts! That’s some easy calories right there. They are not quite ripe, and the husks have little needles that stick into fingers.. yet they’re food! I ate maybe 100 of them, gathered in 1/2 hour. Easy.
Worms also make for a great fishing bait, naturally. I’m not sure what’s more exciting – finding worms or catching fish. The fish, however, definitely is a bigger gift of food.
And now, to put it all together:
After coming back to the school, I went out again for a couple of days. This time, I went out in a car and on bike, and walked along roads gathering American Hazelnuts (bigger and no stingers). In 10 hours, over two days, I gathered quite a bit. However, after the husks dry out, and we husk them, how much will be left? Is it worth it? Time will tell!
So there you have it folks! Another update to this blog of walking on the wild side. I love to hear feedback, ideas, so comment away!