Wild

Trout lily 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

4.13.17 Born Again

Since the last time I wrote, just a few weeks ago, spring has arrived. Even now, a plague of iridescent grackles is strutting about the yard, two robins are colliding mid-air in a mating dance and the forsythia at the end of the drive is about to burst forth in a cloud of screaming yellow flowers. At night the racket made by the frogs is barely audible above the whoosh of rushing water, as every creek, brook and stream overflows from the snow melt and recent rains. Like the fiddleheads in their papery skins, I, too, am beginning to unfold and turn my face toward the sun. From the searching introspection of my darkest winter days has come a bright vision of the future. I have renewed optimism and my energies are focused on a new idea: The Outside Institute. I'm excited to share with you this fledgling venture that seems to be taking on momentum as the weather warms and the days grow longer.


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Falcon1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.10.17 For the Birds

Despite the rumors floating around, January does not have the highest suicide rate. Contrary to the common belief that suicides peak during the frozen winter months, they are actually most prevalent during the late spring and early summer. It is true that January can feel dark and isolating, especially if you shun the cold and refuse to leave your house. I recommend that you plan some fun activities that propel you into the light—skiing! snowshoeing! ice skating!—or at least into the company of others. Museums, theaters and classrooms all work. So step away from that screen and engage with the world. I attended a fantastic demonstration this weekend from the Delaware Valley Raptor Center, a local organization that's dedicated to rehabilitating birds of prey that are found sick or injured. Those that don't recover sufficiently to be released back to the wild stay on and participate in the educational presentations the organization makes to schools, camps and other interested groups all over the region.


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Caramels 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

12.14.16 Holidaze (& a Giveaway)

Have you been sucked into the December vortex? Standing in long lines, eating too much sugar and feeling like a loser because you can't afford to buy all the presents are some indications that the holidays are getting the better of you. Resist! I say. Go simple. Stay true. Be calm. It's a challenge, I know. Just the other day, as I sat wrapping gifts, I was overcome with sadness. Both my parents are gone, what little family I have lives on the West Coast and most of my friends are far away. I never had children. I live in a tiny cottage and my home doesn't overflow with several generations. My life suddenly seemed very thin to me and, I confess, I felt a little sorry for myself. And I start every day with a gratitude practice in which I carefully review all my many blessings! What is it about this time of year that preys on our vulnerabilities? I didn't really snap out of it until my husband came home and took me in his arms and talked me through the realities: I am healthy. I am safe. I am lucky. I am loved. There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.


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Cocktail1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

12.6.16 Take Root

Big changes can unseat us, make us feel wobbly and uncertain, as though the ground beneath our feet has shifted uncomfortably. Though we can't see the future, we often operate under the delusion that we know what's coming and that brings some measure of comfort. But, inevitably, our roots are disturbed and we must find a way to regain our equilibrium.

 

A few months ago, my life unexpectedly changed shaped and fear and anxiety threatened to overtake me. It required a lot of strength (and support from people in my life) not to react from a place of despair. Instead, I have chosen to remain calm, to give myself space and to simply exist in the in-between moment—a limbo I have historically found untenable. The eternal temptation is to take action to fix a problem.

 

This is where a regular meditation practice can be very helpful. It turns "Don't just sit there, do something!" into "Don't just do something, sit there!" The very act of sitting calmly allows you to feel grounded—in yourself. Your root chakra, located at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor and the first three vertebrae, creates a solid foundation that provides a sense of safety and security from within, regardless of your circumstance. Bit by bit, I am starting to feel more connected to myself, to my true nature.


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Barn 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife (except this one by bette blau)

11.1.16 Legends of the Fall

 

We saw leaves go to glory,

Then almost migratory

Go part way down the lane,

And then to end the story

Get beaten down and pasted

In one wild day of rain.

 

So wrote Robert Frost, in his poem "November." And to be sure, we've had those days here. On the heels of a killing frost last week came a smattering of snow that turned into icy rain before ushering in warmer days. A little green still clings on in the garden, as you can see above. I just harvested lots of mint and sage, both of which are drying now and will be used in my big batch of garden tea: lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon balm, mint, anise hyssop, scented geranium, lavender, sage, chamomile, calendula and rose petals.

 

Dear friends and supporters, if you have not yet heard, I have relinquished my role in Fish &  Bicycle. The official language is this: 

 

Laura Silverman is leaving Fish & Bicycle to pursue other projects. She is proud to have helped create the vision and fully endorses Juliette Hermant as she brings this much-needed Catskills venture to life.

 

It's all true and yet says nothing of my heartache. I fear disappointing you, but I trust you to extend your kindness and compassion when I need it most. I hope whatever other projects I pursue allow me to do the things I love and share them with you.


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Drupes1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

8.3.15 Cool-Ade

There's a very particular satisfaction to be had from eating wild things. The connection to nature, the bold (if largely misguided) sense of self-sufficiency and the discovery of new flavors all add up to a deeply enriching experience. If you've never ventured into the fields and forests in search of a delicious morsel—wild blackberries! fiddleheads! oyster mushrooms!—you're missing something very primal. Fear can hold us back, but stop for a moment to ponder that. We come from nature and it is only there that we are truly in our element. Let knowledge dispel ingorance and find your way back to the wilderness. I will lure you off the beaten path with a couple of easily identified wild treats.


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Bolete 790 xxx
iPhotos by gluttonforlife

7.28.15 Mycelium Is Better Than Yours

When the weather is rainy and the woods become damp and funky, I hear the siren song of the mushrooms. They beseech me to venture deep into the understory on a thrilling quest full of promise. A good day means they are everywhere, in so many guises—popping up alongside the path, jutting out from tree trunks, spreading on the underside of rotting logs. They are red and brown and purple and neon yellow. I've always been a good spotter, known for my eagle eye, but I chock it up to a very simple technique: I seek out anomalies in the landscape. I soften or almost blur my vision, allowing my eye to catch upon whatever sticks out as different in the vast sameness. Along this journey, I absorb the deep stillness of the trees; hear the melancholy song of the wood lark; follow old trails and trace new ones; and feel a rich peace settle over me, a profound sense of contentment to be out in the natural world, where beauty knows no bounds.


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Rose 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.15.15 How Dry I am

I've got so much to share with you, so many new discoveries and ideas and resources on my mind, that I've decided to try to post shorter pieces more frequently. Back in the early days of this blog, I used to post almost every day! And some people really liked that. We'll see how this works out.

 

This unusual plant is something I picked up from an herbalist in a very cool health food store in Athens. He described it as a "Jerusalem rose," but that's actually a different plant, more commonly known as Rose of Jericho (Anastatica), native to the Middle East and North Africa. This one is Selaginella lepidophylla, another type of "resurrection plant," so-called because it can survive almost total desiccation. 


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Old man winter 790 xxx

3.30.15 Ice Ice Baby

Our tiny cottage has been caught in the frigid grasp of Old Man Winter for months now. His icy breath penetrates every nook and cranny, seeping into our very bones. The spring equinox arrived without much fanfare, just an incipient thaw that seems to have frozen mid-trickle. But change is coming. The light is different, quicker and clearer, and the cold air is scented with a damp optimism. Anticipication mounts, becoming almost unbearable. Before we surrender entirely to the frenzied bacchanal of spring, let's take a moment to give the Old Man his due.


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Winter house 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

3.6.15 March Hot Links

The guy who plows our driveway is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Every time it snows, he comes by and makes a huge mountain at the end of our front walk. I guess it hasn't occurred to him that we actually leave the house. At any rate, after the recent snowfall, there was a wall nearly four feet high and almost as wide. It was so wet and heavy that heaving every shovelful was a considered effort. Such a sisyphean task is what passes for a good workout here in the boondocks. And someone in my yoga class told me to spray the shovel with Pam to prevent the snow from sticking. Who am I and how did I get here?


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