Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Secret Path

 The secret path

Every time I have a chance, I take a walk in the woods. There is nothing more satisfying than a cool atmosphere of an old forest. The sounds and smells are unforgettable. To me they always seem familiar; a crack of dry twigs under the shoes, chirping of the birds in the distance, the scent of wild herbs mingling together with the unique green fragrance of ferns, moss and decaying wood. 

 Stinging nettles

Every forest seems both mysterious and familiar at the same time, and each time you come back, it seems as if it were altered by some magic. You never enter the same forest twice. Heraclitus might have thought of that...

Wild blackberries

For me a forest opens a door to childhood memories. There was not a single  Summer that we did not travel to a forest to hunt mushrooms or pick blueberries, blackberries and wild strawberries. My parents, who were big city folks, taught me all I needed to know about mushrooms, herbs and berries.  Although I have not applied this knowledge for a very long time, I never forgot what I learned as a child. And I would like to learn more!

 Rosa rugosa

A few days ago I had a chance to take a walk in a small forest. Naturally, I could not resist my old instinct to pick up something edible. I found ripe blackberries and stinging nettles. There even was a small bush of wild roses. I did not have a basket with me, so the booty wasn't large, but the entire experience was incredibly satisfying. I ate the berries and left the nettles and rose petals to dry in the sun. They will make a wonderful herbal tea.

The booty

When I think of it now, foraging seemed very natural when I was a child. I can imagine that those who did so as children would take every chance to forage in their later age.

In fact, the foraging as a movement is experiencing a comeback of sorts. Books are being published and the bloggosphere is full of information for those who wish to learn more about edible wild plants. 

The food is abundant out there. One simply has to stretch the hand out and pick what is growing freely on meadows, in the fields or in the forest. 

By Dominique Allmon ©2012