Archive for April, 2010
As a child, I was encouraged to be interested in both art and science. And then as I grew older, I was less encouraged to pursue science, and more encouraged to follow an artistic path (and the path of being a cashier, but that’s another story).
Why? I’m not sure. But what it led to was me ending up at an art school for college. I never really considered myself an artist. Not deep down anyway. As my college experience never really gave me a clear idea of what art was, or what it meant to be an artist. The closest I got was while studying with photographer Nicholas Nixon, who seemed to have the answers I was looking for, but I never quite got them out of him.
And then, a few years after graduation, a guy I was dating, who had also gone to MassArt, pointed me in the direction of the wonderful and brilliant comic artist and scholar Scott McCloud, and his omnibus art history book, Understanding Comics. And in that book, I found the answers I’d been seeking. After reading McCloud’s book, I had the happy understanding that art is communication. And good art is unique communication. The best art simply conveys an idea in a new way. Now that is something I definitely do!
And what’s so great about this definition of art is that it frees us up to use any medium we want to convey our ideas.
Any medium at all.
Including, your whole life…
If an audience were to look at your own life as a work of art, what message do you’d be conveying to them?
On Saturday morning, after 5 and a half days of eating only wild and free foods that I could forage in the Boston area, I called it quits on my crash course, because I listened to my body and she said, “I need fat!”
And I listened to my brain, and she said, “Turil, you’re not going to learn any more in the next day and a half about wild foods, and you’ve got too many things going on this weekend to also deal with finding more wild food that you’re body doesn’t really want right now. So relax and have some chia seeds and go to the raw food potluck with your new friends.”
And so I followed my own advice.
The “work week” version of the Wild and Free week was amazing, though. And I learned so much, and got a chance to see the world, myself, and my community, from a whole different perspective. The Earth really is a gift to us humans, and she offers us so much that we either take for granted (maple trees and their sap) or ignore (dandelions!), much to our detriment.
So while I may not have been able to go a whole week eating only what wild foods I found in my area right from the start, I went much further than most people even consider trying, and I learned enough to easily supplement my diet. And I learned what I’d need to do to ensure that I could survive on wild foods in the spring. (Save nuts and seeds over the winter! And tap the maple trees while the nights are still cold enough to freeze the sap in the tree and the days are warm enough to melt it.) And I weathered what ended up being a difficult physical and emotional week far better than I normally would have, due to the wealth of fresh, cleansing greens in my diet. (Many of my skin conditions also disappeared or at least diminished, too, which always happens when I eat a healthy, raw diet.)
So, on the whole, it was a mission that was well worth doing. And I’m so very thankful I had the courage, and encouragement, to do it. I also look forward to doing something similar again, hopefully alongside others, this time, as I continue to practice being more connected with the natural world and all that it offers us freely and generously.
For the record, I tried the following wild foods during this mission:
cattail shoots (pretty good)
garlic mustard greens (ick!)
wild chives (yummy as a flavoring!)
sunchokes (utterly delicious!)
dandelion greens (ok)
dandelion flowers (pretty good)
violet flowers (yummy!)
plantain leaves (eh…)
Japanese knotweed shoots (tangy and yummy!)
pine needle ade (pleasant)
pine needle tea (even more pleasant)
mint ade (ok)
mint leaves (ok)
willow tree inner bark (as a medicine – aspirin – worked!)
grass – not sure which kind (ok)
clover leaves (ok)
OK, onto the next 5 projects! :-)