Eat from the Land

Eat from the Land

Eat locally grown plants from the land each day—a practice that we have almost forgotten is possible! In past times everyone had a garden. The connection of the earthy beets on the table and the soil outside the kitchen was a conscious one. The work of growing food  for sustenance became a dialogue with Nature: is there enough moisture? What needs more sun, is the soil depleted? These questions open our minds, quiet our thinking, and, if we cultivate this state of mindlessness, invite a listening attitude to the living being of the other: plants, animals, minerals, the earth.

But there are not only cultivated plants that offer nutrition and healing, but those natives that grow around our homes as well. These plants are largely forgotten. For instance, in our area the Douglas fir that push green tips in the spring into early and mid summer, offer vitamin C as well as the energy of the forest. Drinking tea steeped from these tips is a kind of communion with Spirit of Douglas fir. We take in its resilience and the way it connects heaven and earth by its upper most boughs puncturing the clouds while sending its roots deep.

Small Douglas fir sheltered by coastal oaks.

Once a friend told me to have my sons collect the Douglas firs’ seeds and to plant them on this ridge which was logged 100 years ago. He said the trees would bring moisture, creating a cooler climate—this is in contrast to the fire department’s suggestion that we cut out fir because it burns.

You decide which person to believe, but not until you have communed with her: Ask Douglas fir for permission to harvest a few of her light green tips and steep a handful in boiling water for 20 minutes. Strain, dilute with hot or cold water to taste, and drink hot or iced.    Then decide.