So it’s cold now in southern Canada, though modest compared to those of you in Europe or the other parts of the Northern countries. I should by every means be sitting in the sauna, sipping black coffee by a fire, or wrapped in pelts in a warm house, instead I am taking time away from those things to just digest this seasons coming in, like the fog and mist that saturates the land now, and cloaks everything in dew and frost, another season transitions and I find myself in one very deep transition in myself. For starters, I have moved off the farm, with the conditioned cold and the end of market season, the crops are withering and there is nothing left for me to do. I no longer call the Carolinian forest my nest, but may return. In fates hands, one relationship of love ended, and one with a more empowered life has begun. It is our karma, that nothing lasts forever, and even romance is ephemeral. Love on the other hand changes forms, and I have headed on a new path.
Before I left though, while the mellow days have yearned to take over the plant kingdom, and all the active life goes into hibernation, I have picked, processed, dried, and prepared many feral foods and wildcraft teas, in order to milk what is left of this harvest :J:. A few foraging updates, the pawpaws (asimina triloba) finally came to ripeness on a small pondside edge, and I gathered about two big handfuls of these strange natives from the grasses beneath its foliage. The taste is reminiscent of a tropical banana cross with mango, yet they thrive in the southern Niagara and Hamilton escarpment with the right summer of course. I also filled a hemp sack full of gingko (gingko biloba) to make memory teas for the winter. Gingko nuts are also edible, but toxic if overdosed, so I have opted out of collect nuts this year. Gingko is one of those amazing trees that doesn’t appear everywhere like ash, maple and pine, but is a living fossil, and was around when mega-reptilian fauna/dinosaurs walked on this very planet. I feel the kind of awe about gingko as I do for redwoods, yew, or ceibas. Next to these two interesting allies, I was given a few kilos of white oak acorns from a friend, and some wild rosehips from the farm, with these I made a rosehip soup which is a very hygge meal from Sweden. The acorns on the other hand were processed down by my younger brother and I, dehusking with bare hands and teeth or in some cases a hammer and vice, I blended them afterwards and made a powder, they are ready to be leeched in a stream, and I will be making a coffee blend, and pancake mix with their protein rich powder.
Speaking of acorns, I was able to sample a lot of different acorn treats recently humbly gifted by the same friend who supplied the whole nuts, a fellow apothecary gardener with a knack for wild food crafting. Amongst them were acorn bread, acorn cake, fermented acorn bits, and more brewed acorns. We also shared some angel milk which is raw milk infused with angelica flowers, which gives it a floral taste and slight hue. Together we led a foraging workshop on the plot of land that belongs to my now ex-partner, where we looked at different roots, sassafras, spicebush, birch and ironwood, nettles, and lichens. This was my first time leading a formal plant walk, and is something I found great fulfillment in. Two nights ago I attended a workshop on ‘Eating Invasives’, plants that is, which was a particularly interesting talk about the edibility and use of non-native plants in our ecosystem. Some of these I already knew, like japanese knotweed, garlic mustard, nettles, and highbush cranberry, while others I was exposed to new knowledge, after the workshop there were some samples of asparagus, pawpaws, and micro greens. It was a fairly in depth look put on by two younger folks that knew their plants, so I felt pretty fitting there.
My own perennial plants and cactus had to come inside for awhile, so I’ll be overwintering one sapling haskap and a young cactus and hope they survive through the dark days. And just when things started to get a bit chaotic outdoors, I caved in and took a retreat slightly north for a cabin stay, where I spent a beautiful night at an airbnb with a friend, with all hygge aspects imported into the small space. There is something about cabins that makes us feel closer to nature, I love the organic aesthetic of the wooden walls, the acoustics, the intimacy, and the simplicity of wooden hand-built homes. So many dwellings in contemporary cities I find extremely boring and lacking creativity; well maybe with a few notable cities exempt, I’m thinking Copenhagen, Reykjavik and Bergen, ultimate hygge/koselig places to be. In the future I see myself coming home to my dream cabin, resting the skis outside against the logs, starting up a fire, watching the boughs of snow drop off the boreal trees, and settling up to my lover, and maybe a husky or a norwegian forest cat too.
My meditation practice leading up to this so far has been refined and regular, and I love making time in the day to set this priority for a time to just be, then just be in my precious solitude, in the lack of other company your own self is your fairest friend. Films make the evening pass more contently, though I’m not an avid watcher, this time of year makes for good passive enjoyment. I really liked Gringo Trails, which explores the impacts of tourists on culture and environments, and puts a new perspective to my own travels. I’ve also been diving back in to the Be Here Now book by Baba Ram Dass, this is very good spiritual literature.
In the last post I alluded to a trip I might be taking and this has come to be manifested for real now, and in the middle of November I am heading back to the coast of southern Oaxaca for my yoga teacher training, where I will live and breathe yoga for one month, spend my idle time in the ocean and getting naked sun time on the playa. I guess I am kind of a snowbird in that sense. During this time I will be taking some hiatus from constant posts here, and instead I am hauling my pastel blue brother typewriter down to mexico, and will enjoy some more personal writing in my private cabana nook. I shall be keeping my screen time to low minimalism. The moon will still turn, and I will star gaze at a different set of constellations for awhile, as the Mayan dogdays will reveal new plans for my future, until I return again and set up house in a new location, and maybe land myself a yoga teacher position for the winter in a studio after my training. The potentials are there, and the doorways are opening!
I was wandering the web, and stumbled across your blog. It´s always good to find another awakened soul, and a kinsman of heart, if not by blood, at that. I live in Bergen, Norway. My ancestors all come from this area, and my paternal grandmother was Sámi.
I have drastically downsized my life to the point where I can easily live without money , but I´m still looking for that perfect place call a home. While I´m saving up money to buy a cabin or a small farm by working part time as a yoga instructor, I´m learning about plant medicine and permaculture.
Love your posts – I was in need of some inspiration in these dark winter nights, and by some divine intervention I found your writings.
(Wasn´t sure if I could write this in Norwegian, you might not have started learning our language yet?)
Heil ok sæll fra din søster i hjemlandet.
These words speak directly to my heart, you must be aware how moved I felt to read them, and the synchronicity that entails this beautiful connection at this point in my ever changing myth-story. I think an awakened soul knows another, and certainly you come from the same higher grounds, as a kinswoman of spirit, and yes part of my ancestry stems from Western Norway! It is a many year long dream of mine to live with the Sámi and join in their migration of the reindeer, I long for returning back to Canada soon to experience the winter again, and the Nordic mountains of Canada.
We seem to come from similar places and spaces, from a modern life into minimalistic and simplistic beauty of going about with only what we need, and made peace with money, using it as the tool it is to thrive rather than live in excesss. I love the concept of intention hygge living, or ‘koselig’ for you in the Norselands! I have built my life by hand around it in the last year, and envision the mirror image of what you dream here. You must be looking into my own soul, or have simply read much of my writings. Since the age of 15, it has been my conviction in life, my obsession, and my fate to meet my primal feminine in the Scandinavian countries, and start the farm, build a cabin, and move to Norway permanently, Bergen/Stavanger, with the sea and the mountains, a wooden home and forest altars, my feet have wandered in Bergen during my four years of nomadic travel, though not nearly long enough. You seem to be my twin, learning permaculture and plant medicine, which has been my path since I became conscious of it in my teenage years, with such an intent passion that I can not imagine another way to live. I am writing this from Mexico, one week away from completing my 200hour yoga teach training course, and strengthening my six years of yoga practice, with the dream of eventually teaching. I love love love that you find inspiration in the Nordic nights of winter, and I want to see in my minds eye, vicariously through you as you write it here. The tropics are nice but they are not the North. Divine intervention? I believe so.
A couple years ago, I taught myself Norwegian, and was nearly accepted into a field botany course in Sognsvann, but alas, I missed the quota and the course become full, my Norse is rusty but I find it comfortable to learn and it sounds native on my tongue. Would love to learn more from you.
(ps. write me here: email@example.com)
Heil og Hei fra din bror fra Canada