Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Cure is Close By

Continuing the theme of walking and finding food, Mary Hunter Austin, in her autobiography, “Earth Horizon” (1932), related how when her family moved from the Midwest to California, she was initially very dazed and disoriented—in what she described as a spellbound state. Going without food and sleep, she wandered the hills and canyons, driven by an obsessive desire to get the country to explain itself. The turning point came when she discovered wild grapes in Tejon Canyon, and feeding on them almost exclusively for two weeks, she restored herself to health and sanity

I have a theory, albeit unproven, that if a person could consume a certain amount of the wild food to be found in his or her vicinity, around the calendar, (for winter, you would have to make teas out of certain trees’ bark), that would help align and harmonize him or her with the environment, (and the spirits of the land), in such a way that it would mitigate a lot of physical and mental complaints. (I’ve never carried this out myself, because too many disruptions to my schedule prevent me from getting out on a regular enough basis.)

Kind of tied in with this, although I’m taking it out of context, Tom Brown, the Pine Barrens Tracker, cited an old Indian belief that wherever there is something that causes illness or other problems, the cure will be found nearby. So for example, jewel weed, which is a cure for poison ivy, grows in a lot of the same places as poison ivy. My extension of that theory is that if you need a tonic, your own land or your neighborhood will provide what is best suited for you.

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