Forest retreat at Mt. Charleston
I’m writing you from Mt. Charleston, Nevada. A forested mountain habitat which is rare for this region, as most else is flat desert.
I found a free camping site to park the van at 8000 ft, in pinyon pine country. This is one of the few places in Nevada that wasn’t clearcut then overgrazed by cattle, which eat young saplings to death, so there is still a sacred forest.
All along the ground are thousands and thousands of pine nuts, but many of them have already seen better days.
it’s day 4 with morning temps dropping into the 30s. Each day is filled with walks across the mountain landscape, seeking and harvesting the remaining pine nuts, wild teas containing pine needles, and juniper tips, and Mormon tea.
The silence is astounding at 8000 ft up, and the only company I have are birds and elk and the shelter of the foragemobile. The vistas are profound, especially when the sun lights up the horizon in the morning time.
There is barey any cell phone service, and to get WiFi, the little town library will do.
This is a sacred place, where ancestral practices still could thrive, where there is enough material; food, shelter, and medicine, but so far water is lacking. It is out here somewhere though. In a way, all modern humans are born into a survival situation with nature, instead of being born into a tribe which already knows where the resources are, what paths to find the best stands, the flowing waters, and the rare plants.
This exploration, for me, is a constant journey, where only the spirit of the forest guides my way. Within those voices, the ancestors of the land speak, if we get quiet enough to listen. The landscape is the teacher, and our senses know.
Meditation and self reflection are my reasons for coming, and I ask the elements for help in that quest. A lot of insights and visions come, when we plug in to the inner net.
Sitting with the fire, intent on its whispering message, contemplating the light, and the burning wood. How integral humans are to the health of the ecosystem. Sitting at the fire, I am releasing decades of sequestered sunlight back into the heat and light that the trees have absorbed and acquired, now released to keep my fingers warm enough to type, and my cup always full of wild tea.
When I burn wood, not only do I serve an ecological function by burning debris which could catch and start huge wildfires, which I suspect will but this is also an ancient achemical ritual that the ecosystem craves. Imagine that the branches of trees are gifts for the energy needs of their children; the humans. As I leave the pile of ash, which I also use for cleaning my camp cookware, the winds will spread the ash throughout the system. Free standing minerals are available. The ash contains mineral nutrients in which every Plant or tree that gets a taste, gets an edge up on how big and strong it can grow, and the ecosystem craves it. Basically we are performing an important ecological function for nature itself.
For, out here, only the caring hearted can survive. When you give, you receive… a simple ecological ethical standard.
Out here, we still have the chance to no longer be people with serial numbers, we are able to be raw feral spirits, humans seeking the union of ancestral skills, and the contemplation of the union of the spirit and matter. Creator and creation. Where nature and god aren’t separated. The more I sit with this space, the more I am convinced that we have not been banished from Eden, but since we believe we were, we treat nature in turn. We can’t see it, so we trash it.
If you resonate, and also are questing on similar things, please be in touch and check out lots more herbalism and foraging videos, articles, and upcoming classes as well as herbal goods at www.returntonature.us
Dan de Lion