Also, support a leftist radical group in Berkeley, buy a slingshot:
I'll be in northwest Florida from December 17 to the 31st. I joyfully return for my once a year or two visit. It seems like I was just there, since we visited my family a lot over the winter until February this year, during the time of the tangerine grove in Citra. I suspect it will be warm and pleasant. I guess it's pretty nice having family in Florida- you get to visit without having to stay! It's enough like a vacation to balance out any minor form of obligation.
Springfield is transforming me, as it usually does. This time, however, I've had a much better grip on how to be here without losing my spirit completely. Breathing, sleeping, cooking, eating as well as possible, spending time with friends and family who are to some extent aware of my life away from here. Only taking baths, and soaking in herbs and clay has really helped, I think. It's allowed me to spend time with my body that I don't always get otherwise, at least not in the same way that I might if I were still gardening. I like gardening more than cooking simply because the garden is so much like my own body, interacting with everything around it, growing, sunning, breathing, stretching, being.
Cooking, however, allows the mind to focus more on transformation. I feel that I've really retained a (mostly)local diet of fruits and vegetables (apples and squash, mmm), whole grains, local cheese (some from raw milk!) and eggs. Also, lots of dumpstered bakery bread! At its best, cooking is an extension of the garden. It allows us to harvest (my favorite thing, after long nurturing!) and bring the fruits of our labor into the kitchen to be blended and transformed into delicious experiences that pass the life of the garden into ourselves, our friends and family. That is how I've most deeply experienced and enjoyed life.
In any case, I'm finally transcribing a notebook full of notes on lots of herbs, spiritual entries, recipes, sketches of useful garden trellises, a Susun Weed talk from Gainesville, contact info, urban orcharding, good shrubs, trees, and vines for western NC, etc, etc. My hope is actually to get them together with some other fantastic things from the loads of books I've been reading and put together a zine. I feel like the likelihood of that happening is high, as a project to stay busy for the next 3 weeks. When I return from FL, there will be 2 weeks before our flight from Chicago to Guatemala, which is a 2 month trip. I look forward to time slowing down a bit around April. It's a little strange to have plans up to then.
OK, so about Springfield- it is a little numbing, a little dulling, especially in the wintertime, but it's also humbling in a funny way. There is a much more concensus idea about reality here, so there is a slight need to conform in mostly social ways. It's sort of nice to go between worlds of complete freedom of expression, and places like the midwest, where thoughts flow in more of a stream. It's easy enough to provoke thought here, if not to sustain it. I guess it's easier to not talk about something different, as if mentioning anything different is a one time thing, as if talking about what could change is thought-provoking, but ultimately forgettable in the flow of house, TV, car, job. I say it's helpful in getting a more rounded understanding of people, and let me tell you, that seems to be my area of interest.
More about that and leaving the country in the next installment.
with l o v e
Time in Springfield is interesting. It's a lot easier to recognize the differences between rural and urban lifestyles. I continue to be amazed at the perpetual choice we have to flow with negative or positive energy. I mean, Springfield gets me down, way down. I find it hard to smile as much as I'm used to doing, hard to not be constantly distracted from myself and soulful interaction with others by just about everything. You can't walk outside and not here industrial sounds or dogs barking. I have long alleys to walk down, but they are mostly fenced, and there are many, many dogs. However, I've been pouring what energy I have into anything I can think of that will offer me returns on that energy, rather than putting it all into destructive behaviors (which I will admit that I continue to do). We only have a bath tub, so I've taken to herbal baths, soaking in chamomile, lavender, rosemary, bath salts, and bentonite clay. It's been endlessly amusing for me to wash my hair with mud, as well, a kind called rhassoul clay. The clay absorbs pollution and yuckiness from the hair and leaves most of the oils intact. Just soaking my head takes away the sweat, and rubbing the clay into my scalp a bit has the same delicious effect as letting it dry on my face, which is also part of the process. Isn't it awesome that mud cleanses and improves skin and hair? Just incredible- and soaking in the tub eliminates much of the need for anything outside of light scrubbing to get really clean.
Chamomile tea has also been endlessly helpful. I pressed out my holy basil, mullein, and goldenrod tinctures the other day- hurray! The biodiversity in my neck of Illinois is rather limited, so the tincturing has been put on hold, though we did gather a bowl full of hawthorn berries from Lincoln Memorial Garden across the lake from the coal plant. Unfortunately, I'm not so sure I want a tincture of anything across the lake from the coal plant. :/ I did purchase some amendments for making slightly better quality and faster fermenting mead, and it will be nice to get a lot more of this pile of honey of ours into process. I decided that herbal infusions or decoctions are better added to mead just before it's bottled for a better tasting mead. I think perhaps having alcohol to begin with helps to preserve the taste and quality of the herbs.
This morning I pulled my first yogurt out of the cooler! I had to special order seven stars yogurt for the culture, but the actual yogurt making process was pretty super easy. I followed the directions from Wild Fermentation, and it made a thick, quite mild-flavored yogurt that will be so yummy with maple syrup. Also poured off some rejuvelac this morning, and capped my fermented ginger carrots, both instructions taken from Nourishing Traditions. Rejuvelac is pretty OK, especially if you mix it with some apple juice!