Leaving the lower ones for the coyotes and foxes (Shamanic berry-picking)

blackberries1-645x250I just returned from what felt like a very long trip to Palo Alto. I think I know at a core level what interminable means. I was away from my quiet sanctuary of Hidden Lake in rural Oregon for 8 days. My whole outlook, vibration, and feel of life changed. I was taken aback by just how dramatically our surroundings can influence the way we feel about and see life. I had called in my helping spirits when I left for the airport. Still, the influence of home, and not home, emerged as quite pervasive. So very glad to be home.

This morning, I awoke (in my own bed!!!) to the typical grey skies after 8 days of the bright California sun. This notably brilliance of the sun was accompanied by an audio throngs of cars, blowers, refridgerators that need fixing, beeping appliances, people, people, people. I awoke this morning to the typical grey and proverbially kissed the Oregon ground.

Our Oregon property felt so new through my appreciative eyes and open heart. Expanse and quiet…so sweet. I would normally get up after being away and jump into my car and go grocery shopping. This morning, I was acutely aware that the property was thriving with food! In fact, one of the first reminders of this was how fat Bodhi had gotten while we were away—it is berry and apple season and he eats 3x his usual daily calories in fruit. I grabbed my berry-picking gear—a big peanut container with a belt duck-taped to it and headed out. As my dog Bodhi and I walked out into the vibrant nature of Hidden Lake, a wave of amazement washed over me. How lucky I felt being here…wow. So good to remind ourselves of our ground.

Lusciousness in unfolding. I was grateful that the berry season had not progressed too far in my absence. The familiar companion dandelion hairs have begun to intertwine with the berries. I gave the berry-bushes some spit and hair, having left my tobacco at home. (Spit and or hair provide a very personal offering to  the nature spirits in the absence of tobacco or cornmeal—the more typical offerings. ) We give this exchange, because we remember that we are all related and that we are in relationship– always give and take, regardless of whether it is friend, family, pet, nature beings, berry plants. The faeries that live here also get an offering, a bit of blood from pricking skin on thorn.

I move at a slower pace, stopping at almost every clump with purple. There is a particular luster, sheen and plumpness when the berry is perfect. There are few of these still, needing more Oregon summer heat—an often elusive commodity. I feel like a bee or hummingbird, visiting every ripening inflorescence. A particular place at the base of every inflorescence exists where you can place your finger and lift the clump into position for picking, where you will not get pricked. I have waded through thickets, and with two hands free (hence the container on a belt!), studied, honored and picked.

At this slow pace, I connect with the foxes and coyotes that I know are also wading through thickets at this time of year, eating these purple gifts from God. So I leave the ripe berries that are fox and coyote height, taking the ones higher up. Tale-tell monuments of purple on the trail wink at me in divine assurance that we walk together seeking to be nourished from this good earth.

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