Ecological Mourning

The Geumgangsong, or sacred Korean Pine Trees, are disappearing.  They've been quietly disappearing for a couple of decades.  After years of research, Ecologists and Forestry folk have reached the conclusion that they're dying of stress.  Stress from an environment that's changing too quickly for them to adapt, from rising temperatures, shifts in weather, habitat loss,…

Rewilding and the joy of grief

Uma is a beautiful dog. We love each other, it feels, extraordinarily. And it feels all the more extraordinary when I think that I strongly advised her owners, my very good friends, not to get a dog. She's very sweet-tempered and likes people, getting so excited when visitors come that she has to tell everyone.…

Master of Fish

(First published in the beautiful and defunct Cowbird on 14 July 2012) A stroll, an unexpected stroll. Along the rim of an unexpectedly beautiful dam. During a short, unplanned, much needed and, yes, you guessed it, unexpected trip. Away from our now so predictable life, but carrying all my doubts about it, about us. The…

Listen…

I believe that most hindrances to the development of human society, to the functioning of relationships, to our happiness and fulfillment, and even to our survival in this world, stem from our poor communication.   And I'm not talking about how to say things, although that is also important. Our main issue is our difficulties…

on potting nettles

To the amazement of many a guest, one of my most exuberant potted plants was a beautiful and sometimes enormous nettle. The past tense is because I don't have potted plants at the moment... what I do have is access to clean and organic nettle to harvest as much as I want. And there seems…

the nettle’s healing kiss

I've always been puzzled by the "what's your favourite" question. How can one choose? That said, the Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica, could well be my favourite plant. It is probably the one I eat the most, at least in leaf count: some tree-cabbage and kale leaves around here are big enough to cover several hundreds…

docking the burrs

Ah, thistles...  such beautiful plants.  Stubborn, humble and loud.  Their punk-like flowers come in all sizes, and remind me of that most coveted of lands... I came across burdock—specifically the "Greater Burdock", Arctium lappa—very soon after arriving in Europe, when I looked into my first european herbal in search of a natural hair tonic.  Unfortunately,…