A while back, I caught an unusual thing in a local paper – a “You’ll Get Dirty” tour to discover common plants to eat in the wild. Basically, something that I would never do in real life
Except, I did.
Out of a mix of boredom and bemusement, I followed some woman named Vickie into the woods. This tour had more people than, I think, anyone imagined. And they –we– all had the same look. “Why and I here? What was I thinking? Why is this so interesting?”
And it was. Freakishly so.
This woman plucked things from the ground. She told us to taste. To smell. To get a feel for the land. Ideas and words that were crazy hippy nonsense five minutes earlier were now the coolest things ever. That I could chew a bit of moss and put it on a wound or roll a leaf between my fingers and rub the juice on a bug bite blew my mind. For the first time, I saw plants as my ancestors had. It was humbling. And I felt so foolish and cheated for not having been taught these things before.
Desperate to retain what I’d learned, I rushed to download a plant identification app (a free one called PictureThis) and I dug out an old Edible Plants pocket guide that had been secreted away – dusty and unused for years. I’m still not good at identifying 98% of what I see. But the 2% I do know feels pretty freaking sweet.
Lesson learned: Check every paper of every little town the second you arrive.