Freitag, 25. März 2011

Foraging / Dayhike with philosophy on top;-)

On wednesday I had a day off and made for the hills again. The weather was great, sun was shining and it was some 26 degrees C in the sunshine. I walked over the hill behind my home and was bound to collect some edibles, for this month is a somewhat meagre one again;-). Lesser Celandine (Pilewort, german: Scharbockskraut) is in blossom, and I got some for salad, and some roots for binding sauces and dressings. Lesser Celandine is rich with Vitamin C, hence the German name "Scharbocks-Kraut", scorbut-herb, for it was used as a remedy against scorbut in ancient times. After blossom, the leaves should not be used any more, for they get bitter and are under suspicion of being poisonous. The roots can be used still.

They are great as a nourishing implement, although you have to get a lot of them, being so small. Shot no photo, but they are like little, bug-like balls and not easily mistaken.
I walked for some hours on end towards my favourite lake. This is the view from atop the hill.

Collected some birch sap, but as it was, it was cool from the dew, and soooo refreshing, I drank it up for the most part, sitting on my favourite stump, which has a live birch protruding out of it.;-) Like an armchair, actually. I basked in the sun for an hour or so, had some more swigs of birch sap. Then I continued on my way.
Some more impressions on the way.

This is the woodbine sprouting. I have yet to try bushcraft basketry and this would be my material of choice.
I especially liked these woods for their light, yet twilit atmosphere. There is a certain heavy peace to them, breathing ever so slowly, so that your own heart beats slower there. There were birds singing and enjoying the warm weather like me. Again I did some stumpsitting and sunbasking;-). I did not sleep, but my conscience drifted away slowly, and I felt as if the blood of the trees ran through my veins, slowly and patient. My eyes drooped, and some strange calm took possession of my soul, ever so gently. It was like a green light shining behind my eyes. It is very hard to describe, for words are not made for this. My interpreting just stopped, my worries and ambitions subsided. I certainly heard the birds still, and saw the trees, and was aware where I was, even when I was, and why, but it did not matter. I felt like a part of it all, of sun and trees and life and death. Sounds esoteric, eh? It is. But then words are not made for this. The secret is, that there is nothing semantic to this feeling. It happens in a state of mind, where our constant construction of the world slowly and gently is faded out, where all of our mechanisms of interpretation fail. Because of the fact, that sign and significance might still be not identical, but that does not matter any more. because there is little, but slow and thorough movement, our everyday hectic vectorial orientation in a subsemantic complex subsides. There is a healing effect to this. The experinece, for being self-referred (autotelic) and solitary in a peaceful surrounding creates a side-effect of "Flow" (Cziksentmihalyi 2008). The phenomenon has been only recently researched in a study (transcendent experiences in forest environments:
Won Sop Shin,1 Poung Sik Yeoun,1 Rhi Wha Yoo,2 and Chang Seob Shin1(2009):
Forest experience and psychological health benefits: the state of the art and future prospect in Korea

and many more;-). I personally hold in high esteem Wolfgang Hogrebe. As a first read you can perceive the essay "Mantics and Semantics" (1994, 1995, 2006). )

I often critisize the society we live in as insane. This society is often characterized as "rapidfire society", concerning the rapidity of information flow we all are confronted with. This leads to a somewhat onesided balance in the individual. Semantics are all that is asked from the individual, but mantics cannot be switched off. There are many millions of bits our brain perceives in everyday situations. A mentally normal individual filters this information by only processing and interpreting a small part of it. Now, in modern society, it is demanded, that many more informations are processed, at once. And the problem might not even be the mass of the informations to be semantically interpreted, but the impossiblity to train the mind to it and the connection between life-essentiality of interpretation and the resulting stress without a positive reinforcement as a bargain.(after the model: Don´t be slow, do not dream / rest etc or you´ll lose your job, plus the fact that no positive reinforcement is given by executives, but more requirements still ). The system is complex.

Flow can transcend this vicious cycle (or system even), and might be the reason this is entirely dissolved in forest environments, giving recreation and happiness and a healing effect to the individual by breaking the conctant need for (semantic) informational processing. 

After this much healing trance;-) I went on and came across this birch offering me its bark for tinder. Boy, do I need a tinder pouch, for it vanished in the depths of my rucksack. Found on the cheese afterwards;-) but no harm done, cheese was cleaned, and the bark still in order;-). Have to make myself a pouch, though.
Still more scenery to be mantically processed;-).
Found this dead tinder conk and took part of it home for tinder. I even heard it say you can make sheaths, caps, and bags from it. I´ll keep you informed!

The sun was sinking, and provided for magic moments under the forests roof again. I saw some roe deer and some wild pigs, and something in the distance that might have been a badger. As usual, my clumsy fingers did mess up with the camera, so no pics of any wildstock whatsoever;-). I walked for some seven hours on end, and was beginning to feel a bit fatigued. Had some cheese and bread with birchbark on;-) and some apples, an onion and the last swig from my birchsap bottle, drank some tea, and on I went. It was becoming colder, as the sun sank. I came to the road after another hour´s walking and took the bus home.

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