(this is part 6 of a 10-part series, a life's journey to become an herbalist observing gail faith edward's article on the subject. you can find part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.1, part 4.2 and part 5 here.)
gail's sixth step in her ten-fold path is to simplify your life. she says:
"Simplify your life. Live as simply and as naturally as you can. Try to drink wild water, eat wild plants. Swim in natural lakes and ponds or the ocean. Get yourself back to nature, first in little steps, then run, as fast as you can. Look up at the sky at night, notice the phases of the moon, the situation of the stars. Welcome the sun rise in the morning, go to bed when it gets dark. Light candles instead of turning on electric lights. Sleep outside on the ground as much as possible. Walk barefoot on the earth. Do these things day after day, month after month, year after year."
there is nothing i like better than to walk outside at night and stare up at the moon and stars. i love finding constellations and learning the story of each one. i tell these stories over and over to my kids and partner. when i had more energy, i used to bake full moon cookies and sometimes i'd make crescent cookies for the waxing and waning moon cycles to honor the moon's cycles and make my kids aware of her monthly changes.
i go barefoot probably 9 months out of the year until the ground becomes too cold and frozen for me to tolerate. i have poor circulation so my feet and hands are usually cold. exposing them to the cold ground makes them cramp so i have to don wool socks and lined earth boots otherwise, i'd be barefoot year round.
i love the feel of the ground on my feet, the softness of the grass, the harshness of the gravel drive, the squishiness of mud between my toes, the warmth of the path stones that lead to the gardens. i feel so grounded when i can make that connection.
we have an aladdin lamp and candles that i like to burn in the winter time when it is dark so early. candles adorn our dining table and the aladdin lamp sits by my side when i am reading or writing at the kitchen table. this year, i invested in the full spectrum bulbs to put in the lights as well for when we need brighter light. so far, i've had no serious sadness as i've experienced in the past. even though the lights aren't natural, they are closer to natural light than the cfl that we've used in the past.
i miss camping. we used to travel to colorado once a year to camp out in the mountains. waking up a dawn with the crispness of the morning air was wonderful. the smell of pine needles, the rushing of the river, the calls of the birds was a refreshing change. since our situation won't allow us to do that right now, i need to make a plan to get out more locally for camping, even if it means staying in my own back yard! we will work on this next spring and summer. i'd love to create an outdoor bedroom for summertime sleeping. that would be magical!
wild foods is something i've always had a love affair with. i have fond memories as a child of going down to the woods behind our house, harvesting wild onions and other edibles and cooking meals on a small fire that i ate, all in secret as i knew my parents would have forbid me to do it on the grounds that 1. i would burn down the woods and 2. i would poison myself. smile. on the flip side, i encourage my children to do this...last summer all 6 got into a 'survival day' of sorts and went out to do just that. one of my kids even fried up worms and ate them...not something i would have done, but hey, that was his choice. their meals included nettles, mulberries, wild onions and cattails.
last year, our dog brought home a rabbit and i jumped on the chance to have it for dinner! poor dog, she had no idea what happened to her meal. i did give her part of it for her trouble.