Why Wild Heart Food?

Photo by Nicholas Tippins
Photo by Nicholas Tippins

Raw umber. This is the color of the spring that bubbles up between a hunting stand and a zillion wild milkweed plants. The field lies below the ridge I grew up on, and it is the place I forged a spiritual connection with nature, staring into the depths of this spontaneous, life-giving flow.

(The smell of mist blankets the valley in the morning)

Nature has always been a part of the way I connect with spirit. More than that, a part of my body. Returning after months in a “tropical paradise,” I felt a tremendous joy at the kiss of winter on my face. I am this land, no less from the trees that sprout from her hillsides or the squirrels that forage in their midst. Everything I have–including a healthy body and mind–is a part of this simple miracle. It is with tremendous humility and joy that I melt back into her.

(Chipmunks, chattering, scampering through dry leaves)

My ancestors wielded swords. Before that, at the dawn of agriculture, they carried hoes. Before that, stone tools crafted with an artistry long-forgotten.

(Arrowhead, red, streaked with blue. Coral, smooth like river stones, tiny in Grandmother’s palm)

My ancestors used the tools relevant to their environment. My tool is words. They jump out of me like jesters, eager to put on a show. But they are real, good-hearted beings. Not just entertainment. They want to say something, mean something, craft themselves into something useful.

(Blank notebook paper crackles in the wind. No words for this magnificence. No words)

I didn’t decide I wanted to write about nature. Nature decided that for me. She bestowed on me the artistry to capture a sliver of her grandeur, a portion of her mystery. And then she whispered through me, igniting the holiness within my heart. I write to save her. So that we may remember her. So that we can see we are her children. That we are a part of her.

(Splash! Into the gentle pool beneath the dam)

But I’m not invested entirely in touchy-feely-ness. More good, down-to-earth, stuff. Like the fact that, according to the official record, eating a wild strawberry is truly the best thing in the world. That the way spinach turns from a seed into a leaf is intolerably magical. Tomatoes too.

(Ripe and round. The pop of a tomato in my mouth scatters the chickens)

I write about the food we eat as a window into our ancestral memory. As a way to help people remember our true way of life. As a way to remember it myself. But I also write as a practical measure. I hope that by sharing simple stories and fun facts about food, I will do my part in creating a more sustainable way of life. I share that it’s fun listening to your instincts, learning how to grow your food, and nourishing yourself. That all the ways of healing the planet are ways of healing ourselves, reducing stress, raising well-adapted children, and following our dreams. This is all I wish to share. Perhaps that will save the world.

Photo by Nicholas Tippins
Photo by Nicholas Tippins

Nicholas Tippins

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