It is showing early signs of spring with little shoots peaking out of the surface of the Earth’s crust. It has inspired me to share this spring piece with you and possibly inspire you for the forthcoming new season.
Wild Green Wild
Once a dear friend and I were the only humans living on the peak of a certain mountain in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Our neighbors were the plants and animals on 250 acres, sprawling in every direction. I spent most of my time wandering around every rock, creek and path as far as I could travel by foot. The mountain became my mother, friend and teacher. She nourished me on many levels.
Every spring the mountain woke from her winter slumber, slowly at first, a stretch, a yawn, a warm day followed by a week of snow. Then another warm day. Eventually the snow ceased and the warmth increased. The mountain vibrated with awakening energy rising from her depths.
Within a matter of weeks, she went from deep sleep to ecstatic expression of brilliant color, bursting with flaming orange and yellow azaleas, pink mountain laurel, sassafras, dogwood and redbud blossoms. Suddenly, young violets covered the ground, their new light-green foliage sprinkled with small lavender blossoms. The bears, mountain lions, snakes and cardinals became visible once again and reclaimed their grocery store.
I gathered the precious leaves of the young violets and blossoms for my wild, green salads. I combined them with tender dandelion leaves, cochani, purslane, chickweed and the watercress growing by the streams. These wild greens vibrated with the energy—the same spring energy that was surging through me and the mountain, a force of creation and self-expression that didn’t know the meaning of holding back.
The mountain wore her brilliantly colored spring blossoms like a maiden on fire with desire. Her ecstatic presence permeated with scents, beauty, nourishment, wisdom and creative energy.
The spring wind picked up and caressed me gently as it brushed across my cheeks, my body, awakening every cell to the energy of new life, pulsing with potential, asking to create a new beginning.
The wind knew when to gently waft across my skin to get my attention. At times it ravaged me like a forgotten lover reclaiming its place. My hair blew, my eyes watered, and I, too, awoke with desire from a long sleep.
If I hadn’t aligned with the previous season, making my peace with the stillness of winter, then this rising life force demanding to be expressed would turn to frustration and anger. The touch of my breezy lover irritated and annoyed me. I hid inside to get away from him. The fluttering leaves in the trees and plants no longer sounded like music. They became mere noise that I wanted to shut out.
Spring’s life-force energy had been freed, stirred up and ignited. Now it was available to support me in expressing myself more fully during the new year’s cycle. But I had to be prepared to use the natural energy of spring. This is what I learned from that mountain in North Carolina.
Now I support my annual journey by staying in alignment with this energy. When the earth itself is waking, I focus on spring foods and preparations. They will support me to come out, be seen, get active and dance with the world around me with passion, enthusiasm and joy.
As the energy awakens and moves upward and through my body, it can be thwarted. Bringing the young spring greens into my diet will nourish and cleanse my liver and blood. I do this to help the rising life-force energy move freely forward and upward into an expression of who I have become. Tossed with a little lemon juice, these young greens enable my body to get rid of physical and emotional toxins.
Spring is the perfect time of the year to drink a daily tea made of dried dandelion and nettle leaves. These herbs give our body added support for cleansing, building the blood and keeping the energy moving.
Spring is also the best time to enjoy raw or barely cooked vegetables. Quick stir-frying or light-steaming of seasonal vegetables, nourish our energy, moving it closer to the surface of the body when we are more active and outward.
I eat young greens raw or slightly cooked, tossed with fresh lemon juice and a touch of olive oil with a variety of fresh herbs—a delicious and simple way to enjoy these seasonal foods. Add a variety of young sprouts, such as alfalfa or radish. They align us with the energy of new beginnings. When I’m in sync with this season, I don’t hold back or apologize for who I am any more than my beloved mountain. But I need to get in sync or I feel like a forgotten potted plant left to die of thirst in a dark corner.
Aligning with the energy of the spring season supports the blossoming of my heart and passion as I relate more to the world around me during the summer months. I continue to eat an abundance of greens to keep my rising energy flowing freely throughout the summer. I nourish my spirit with lover, friends, hikes, gatherings, dance and all my passions.
The wisdom I gained in the stillness of the winter months prepared me for the rising joy in the spring and summer. As the summer months wane I begin my slow return to my inner world. In the early fall I am grateful for the wisdom that has been shared with me. I am ready to let go of what doesn’t support the deep joy when I honor and feel connected to all there is.
This is a good tonic that you can drink all through spring. Go out in nature and gather as much of the greens as possible. Not only is this a good liver tonic, but gathering wild greens out in nature gets you in touch with nature’s reflection of spring energy.
2-3 handfuls mixed herbs: parsley, dandelion leaves, mint, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, nettles, plantain.
1 TBS chopped fresh ginger
2 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.
2 TBS fresh lemon juice.
1-2 TBS honey
2 cups water
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until leaves are liquefied. Allow to stand for an hour or more and strain. Discard the solids and drink the refreshing liquid.