On Urban Foraging and the Spirits of the Land

It’s been a while since I wrote something on this blog. Well the Fall is slowly but surely settling in and I’m awakening from my Summer slumber, with the help of the Land Wights. Because they are calling…It’s been a good 3 years since I last felt their autumnal call, a lot has happened during that time.

Anyway, yesterday I went for a hike/foraging expedition in the area without much luck (except for some outstanding figs in the neighborhood). The heat and the drought have caused the wild blackberries to dry out early, so I couldn’t even fill a small container to bring home. Thankfully I know a few good spots and I know I can still find some in shaded areas. On the other hand, I was allowed to take a cutting and since I now know how to start a blackberry plant from cutting, I have good hope that at least 1 out of my 4 starter plants will survive. After all, it was a gift from the plant spirit…The blackberries we have here are Himalayan blackberries, easily recognizable to their purple canes and ferocious thorns (even under the leaves they have thorns). Treat them with respect, and you will be rewarded with juicy, sweet & plump berries. And if berries aren’t your thing, you can still make medicine with the flowers & the leaves.

Afterwards I walked to the elder trees. Those in the sun have already lost most of their green foliage, and the berries in the shade aren’t fully ripe yet. I connected with a cluster of 3 trees (I call them the 3 sisters) which are a portal to the Underworld. I expressed my concern about seeing them so barren already. They told me that with the drought and the Fall arriving, they’ve made the conscious decision to conserve whatever little energy they have left by transferring their vital sap to their root system. Proudly claiming that they’ll be reborn once more in the Spring. The willows around them were still green, which means there’s underground water.

I then checked the wild fennel bushes and their seeds, which were not fully ripe yet. The little stripe on the seeds was missing…I just have to be a little bit more patient, I’ll probably have more luck in a couple of weeks or so.

But before I even got to my hiking spot, I stopped by a tiny park with a peculiar tree. The tree has a trunk that forks in 2 trunks about 2 feet above the ground. I’ve always known this tree was a portal. So I sat there for a few precious minutes, enough to have an important conversation with the local Korrigan. He seemed straight out of a Brian Froud or Jean-Baptiste Monge book:

Korrigan illustration by Jean-Baptiste Monge

Mine was just a bit older, had a slightly more playful/mischievous look and didn’t play any instrument. He also had some golden earrings, which made him look a bit like a bandit or a pirate. I couldn’t talk to him for long because I wasn’t alone, but I enjoyed our conversation. Even more so that I hadn’t met any of the Little People for quite a while…

 

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