Let’s Take a Walk

I am blessed with a trail on the land next to my house. The man we bought our home from still owns the property next to us, and he allowed me to create a path around it. It takes about 10 minutes to walk, but it’s easy to wander out well after that.

-Tigger, Pirate and Chica’s morning walk

Walk. This word is for me a spell, the action a rite.

I am a Walker, not for exercise: for thought, connection, and growth.

When I suffer, I walk as if I am kissing the earth with my steps, as we were taught by Thich Nhat Hanh. My bare feet touching the ground heal me. When I cannot feel joy, I can find it through the soles of my feet, from the earth, the sky, the wind, all of life around me. When I feel lost, when my loved ones are not enough to hold my heart, I have my feet and the earth. They are always enough.

Grounding, is part of the process, but the forward movement is essential as well. And the sunlight, the wind. Dr. Andrew Huberman agrees with me. It isn’t just abbyscience. He prescribes a walk or jog, outside in sunlight upon rising for the best brain function.

I thought when I moved close to the ocean I would want to walk on the beach every day, but I still prefer the woods, I like shade and birdsong. I like to see animals going about their business. There are of course birds and animals on the beach, but it feels different to me, I guess it’s the Midwesterner in me that still prefers green to blue.

 

-harvesting congo chilies on my walk this morning

I logged hundreds of hours on Chicago streets, finding treasure in garbage, my creative flow stemmed directly from my feet on the pavement.

I memorized 52 poems in 2016 while walking the Cero Frio in Mexico. I mourned my father walking that mountain, and I lost my beloved Bear there. But, I had hundreds of deep work walks there with her too. Walking is not a cure for hardship, it’s a balm, and can be therapy when applied regularly.

I wrote three books while walking, putting them to paper was the outcome of the actual work that occurred while walking. I have received real magic from the earth as I place my feet, one in front of the other upon her.

-my spirit animal, red dragonfly, resting in my hand

I know the earth is alive and sentient. I have felt it, heard it, talked to it, received care, support, and inspiration from it.  If you haven’t visited her lately, she misses you.

Are you a walker, a surfer, a gardener? How do you touch the earth? I’d love to hear your stories of earth magic.

Favorite Forage

The month I was away in the US(aug/sept) both of my favorite foraged foods, hongos azules(blue mushrooms) and ilamas were in season. It was a bummer. I consoled myself with the wide variety of good cheap wine available in the US.

This is a photo of last years’ mushroom harvest. VSVEVGs ’logo is also a photo I took of the spectacular mushrooms, which are so blue they bleed blue when you break them, unfortunately they turn the color of a regular mushroom when cooked.

Blue mushrooms taste like tilth, really good dirt, such as I imagine Iowa farmers are hoping to taste when they sample their fields in the spring.  One might even convince kids to like mushrooms if they were umpa lumpa blue, though a friend of my says they are more pitufo,(smurf) blue.

Wild mushrooms are harvested at a higher altitude than where we live, requiring a day trip up the mountain. Every family has their own secret spot in the oak forests of Cero Frio, just like when I was little girl hunting morels with my Mom and Dad in the Iowa woodlands. Hunting mushrooms is for me, a ritual of nostalgia.

I was lucky with ilamas, my sister- in-law has late fruiting trees, she knows I love them and saved one for me. They come in this pink, which is my favorite, and also a white variety which is good but doesn’t have the complexity the rosas(pinks) do. They taste like raspberry custard. They’re fun to eat, very similar to a bread fruit, you remove the segments each of which has a large seed and suck off the creamy flesh. They really are fantastic, especially if you delight in messy fruit eaten with your fingers as I do.

Finally, this strange and entertaining treat we enjoy  in October, I have no idea what it is, Felipe calls it peineta.

Each of the orange flower sprays sits in a  tiny cup of nectar, you press your face to the stamens and suck out the juice, it tastes like thin, light, fruity honey, and because the flower is pollinating when you’re done your face is covered in bright orange pollen. I never feel more akin to the insect world than when sipping peineta, unless I’m eating one!Don’t miss next month’s forage installment, I will teach you how to eat a live bug! Which is amazingly,  Very Simple, Very Easy and Very Good.

The Radical Plate

“Every minute that you entertain yourself without paying some corporation to entertain you, you’re acting radically. If you grow even one plateful of your own food rather than buy it from the food corporations, you’re acting radically.” Wendell Barry

In Sustain…able I shared some of our less successful ventures with you, but this post is about victories, such as the day we began our harvest.

I cringed at the sight of Iowa’s decimated crops when I was there in July. Though I know the fields are rife with poison and genetic mutants I can’t help but root for the plants. I’m dazzled by the utter vitality the rises from the plains like heat waves off hot asphalt. But I am thrilled to report we have had an awesome season.
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Man. Horse. Dog. Forage.

For me, there is no better day that one spent on horseback, trail riding with Felipe, our dogs bounding ahead in search of iguanas and rabbits. Add food to the mix and you have Abby’s perfect day (a glass a wine and it’s my nirvana). This weekend we trekked up the mountain for bonetesBonetes are wild papayas, and are my second favorite foraged fruit, they taste like apricot custard. They are messy fun to eat because the flesh is really mushy and sticky. They are loaded with seeds, and I find the best way to eat one is to scoop up a blob with your fingers, as if you were eating poi, suck the flesh from the seeds, and spit the debris. We then make our way to the watering hole to destickify ourselves, before the flies swarm us.

Felipe, Tasha and Jake.

We have also been eating Juan temprano this month, a succulent similar to purslane. It has very little flavor, but is prolific and grows right outside my door. It is dark green, so I have decided it must be loaded with nutrients, and throw it in everything: eggs, salsa, salads and stir-fries. Continue reading