Straight Up - No Chaser

"Trees are very honest and they don't care much for fancy people." ~Byrd Baylor

The curling bark of the Madrone Tree (source). Arbutus menziesli grows along the Pacific Northwest and inland along the western slopes of the Sierras and Cascades. 

The curling bark of the Madrone Tree (source). Arbutus menziesli grows along the Pacific Northwest and inland along the western slopes of the Sierras and Cascades. 

You don't need Super Secret Magic Crystal Powers (SSMCP) to hear your own inner voice, or the voice of the earth.

You don't need to be taught by a shaman with SSMCP to feel and nurture a spiritual connection to nature, or to become attuned to the needs of your body or the needs of your garden, or to understand how to give and receive love.

You don't have to wait until the full blood moon to go traipsing and foraging in the forest...although it does help to know when things are in season. (It also helps to be able to distinguish Madrone berries from Poison Oak berries.)

You don't need to surround your tarot reading with every quartz, antler and feather you've ever collected to gain insight to your soul, even if you do like pretty things.

You also don't need to infuse your tea water with good intentions, positive vibes or love to quench your thirst, either physically or spiritually.

And you don't have to bless your food, your medicine or your humble offering.

Curls of Madrone Bark, ready for tea making. Harvest in late summer, early fall, when the tree is naturally shedding its bark. DO NOT peel off bark that is still strongly attached to the tree.

Curls of Madrone Bark, ready for tea making. Harvest in late summer, early fall, when the tree is naturally shedding its bark. DO NOT peel off bark that is still strongly attached to the tree.

Because everything is holy, regardless of how you perceive it.

Because having a quiet mind, a pure heart and childlike curiousity is all you need, to understand and know.

Because we all like people who let us be our authentic selves without projecting all over us, and animals and plants are no different.

Because plain and simple is magic enough, when you are no longer afraid to be boring. 

Because you have enough.

Because you are enough.

Because This World, with its mysterious phenomena and beauty, with all it's capacity to bring you to your knees in an awe-inspired Yes, or to buckle your legs from under you with it's gravitas...is enough.

One part bark curls to 4 parts water makes a light brew, perfect for hot sipping or iced savoring. You can bring out the cinnamony, fruity tannins by adding more bark per cup.

One part bark curls to 4 parts water makes a light brew, perfect for hot sipping or iced savoring. You can bring out the cinnamony, fruity tannins by adding more bark per cup.

Because of all these things, I offer you the first in my Straight Up - No Chaser series on foraging wild medicinal and edibles. Sometimes I may offer you myth to fire up your imagination, historical or indigenous uses, or sometimes I will have used my own imagination to give you an old recipe with a new spin. In moments of bravery, I will share techniques for directly perceiving plants with your heart. There will be humor, and exuberance, and pretty pictures, and information and one very important ingredient...

You. 

Because I want you to know that you don't have to be fancy to connect with nature, animals, plants, or your own inner quiet voice. Whether you actually do have a SSMCP shaman as a teacher, or whether you don't, it doesn't matter. People's food, people's medicine, people's knowledge...it will be offered here with accessibility, straight up - no chaser.

Got Madrone near your home? Now's the time to harvest the bark (scrape lightly from tree trunks or collect fallen pieces). While you're out there, how about filling up a basket with acorns?

Got Madrone near your home? Now's the time to harvest the bark (scrape lightly from tree trunks or collect fallen pieces). While you're out there, how about filling up a basket with acorns?