The Forager’s Song

The Forager’s Song

  As much as I love all local foods, there’s something truly special about wild, totally uncultivated food growing right at my feet, and in the case of the Wild Grapes, dangling right above my head. There’s a vitality to be had in wild river-grown Watercress that the best cultivated varieties can’t even compete with. The sharp bite of Mustard, the sweet crunch of Wild Lima flowers and the fine flavor of fresh Cottontail brings me back to my body, and closer to this particular stretch of enlivened land. Late afternoon often finds me waiting out the heat down by the river. After floating on my back down the cool current I usually gather greens for dinner in the shade of the Cottonwoods and Alders. Come summer, I’ll be able to curl up in...

River Run: Life Beneath the Surface

some mornings I lay my face against the canyon walls and listen to the hum of the river current while trees tower along the arroyo flush with flowering white petals littering the path up stone and earth crevice and I climb fingers first into every cool cave searching for the green vine of life as it curls into fine cracks uncoiling from pools dark beneath the surface world water seeping out of arid mountains moist veins to feed the delicate embroidery of green life to unfold the ivory mouth of yucca flowers – desert lilies that taste of bitter silk cold and smooth on parched lips life beneath the surface is a song that has flowed into me liquid and silver as dawn on the river as stone erupting into quartz as lupine drinking dew the flowers all falling down...

green shoots

in the spring green shoots curl around my toes and the wind sings into my veins wild twist of blue this river winds through the root fingers of willow and wild rose down by the water brambles hold me fast cling to my skirts and hush my whispers blood from thorns sweet like flowers eaten from their stems wild as the river shaking the banks loose of last season’s skin the floods of winter have brought me treasures of seeds and stickers weathered roots and red stones that mark the place the sun stood as I danced myself free of the darkest days in the daytime sky the moon grows fat and rolls across the hills I watch her in the mirror of this water rippling and turning as the first flowers open as the green shoots unfurl and red dirt drinks me...

The Heart of the Forest

For the Blog Party hosted by Ananda of Plant Journeys: Plant Myths and Archetypes One of the ways I first came to herbalism was through stories, and especially fairy tales. The many volumes of such stories I owned as a child were read so often that eventually most of them completely fell apart, their spines broken, pages creased and worn cover beginning to crumble. Many of these tales did not present the plants and trees as benign, friendly assistants but as powerful entities capable of both generosity and what could sometimes be considered cruelty. I still remember of some of the horrifying images from a few of the oldest stories, of corpses hanging on Briar thorns, babies tortured to screaming by a cradle made of Elder wood and of ancient forests obscuring a...

Two Poems Born of Fire

Fear of Fire in flannel skirts and bare feet I sit among the rare mosses of a dry land sweet beds of solace in a place ghosted by flame every pine needle a match every cloud a pillar of smoke even in winter I watch for lightning the one strike, the one tree that will become a torch in my dreams, everything smells like smoke and singed skin I bury my body in the in the river and let the cold throb wash the fire out of me I let myself remember the liquid song of my blood I forget about fire just long enough to breathe ————————— Fire Season the fingers of the pines are turning brown each summer a little crisper, the fires a little bigger in the village, people fan themselves and look warily at the sky for...

Watercress and Monkeyflowers

Wet yellow flowers woven into watercress the ground cool and damp enough that puddles form around my bare feet gold petals slick with sundots late season survivors of a quick coming winter on this island of lush life I linger among the red skinned dogwood and let the sun warm my cold toes watching the light turn to gold as it passes over willows and the wild hills of the Gila gathering up summer in my hands I eat monkeyflowers and watercress tasting all the spice and sweetness of heat as the ice forms along the river