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23 May, 2010

Another May

As each year passes, as I live through my third slow dawning of Spring in the Northwest, the rythm becomes danceable. Year one was fascinating, but pretty much saw me gawking at the beauty and confused by the unfamiliar. Last year, living through a same but different spring, I began to pick up some patterns amid the dazzle, to learn names for the things that live here, the ways water has of falling and springing and flowing and ebbing. Now this May, back again and famliar enough to be picking up more of the relationships and routines of the critters, the cycles and sequences of the plants.

Each gyre: a little wider and higher, a better view of the territory. Each time round a bit more aware.

And in Round Three: it's not just reading, watching, and listening, a sponge buffeted by the current it harvests. Bystanding days have ended, especially where the green kingdom is concerned.

In the garden: planting and thinning have gone pretty well according to schedule, opening and rehabilitating beds in a nick of time, not procrastinating myself into a corner. What I learned in the first couple of years will help feed me in the third.

On the forage trail: besides having a better seasonal round planned this year, bringing the forage home by planting wild foods in the yard has begun to show results. Also: jumping through some new windows, like the one when sap runs and cedar roots can be harvested and split. Doing this now makes it possible to make a basket this year; more than a month ago would have been wishful thinking at best (and desctructive if it got beyond the pondering), but in a month from now it will be too late.

On the preservation front: knowing a piece of good gathering land and returning to it at intervals this spring has allowed me to document the seasons within spring: yellowbells, bitterroot, biscuitroot, onion,... Seeing this place time and again and learning what different people know of it, how some other places relate to it, and walking it in various weather and light--all these have not just given me a better feeling and understanding of this landscape and where in it there are plants and sites to preserve, but also embedded seeds within me. Roots will tether me to this place, and whenever that happens, it has been mutually beneficial: I learn deeper lessons and the land gains a defender.

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