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25 May, 2009

Modern Foraging: Part 2

Yeah, so first of all, I decided that that passive "Gathering" headline screamed idiocy and passivity. I may be shiftless, but it's not like I (only) take such bounty as falls into the bed of my truck.

Nope. And that's why Part 2 would be further subtitled "Tis the Season," were sub-sub-titles not an egregious breach of blogging etiquette (at least that's the case in the former (future?) Soviet bloc, where most of my readers live).

Seasonality: the cyclical redundance of nature's and cultures' bounties, the daily-monthly-yearly arrival of certain gifts. The biggest misconception I had before living in Hawaii was that there were no seasons, lessened only a bit when I came to know about the drySummer wetWinter seasons. There are mango, avo, guava and all the fruit seasons (the former transcended by a miraculous tree I once met in Lahaina, bearing nearly all year, and easily the coolest thing about Maui); there were the short and long seasons of the pakalolo; tourists from various parts of the globe ripened in Waikiki at different times as well.

The point is (magical trees near Moku-ula aside), it don't do you no good to go foraging for mango in guava season. Know the opportunity of the season, be it a certain berry along Highway 12 or the semi-annual large trash pick-up day in the ritzy neighborhood.

Being prepared means being a season, or a year, ahead. Tis the season right now, for instance, to spot the blooms that will become blue, salal, and huckleberries in a while, to note the heavy flush of petals in the not so obvious spots so that I can harvest in abundance and peace. Last month, I scarcely paid attention to the road in front of me (don't try this until you have driven-cycled-walked your foraging routes enough for your very bones to navigate them) as my eyes swept the periphery for flowers of wild cherries and blackberries. Before long, I'll be paying attention to the fruitings most massive and ignored, evaluating and planning for next year.

And I won't tell you a damn thing about where they are.

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