My own plant journey started when I was a child.
I’d take myself off for hours at a time exploring the miles of fields and small woods that greeted me at the back of my parent’s house.
I vividly remember the happiness and joy I experienced lying in glades of bluebells, the sun streaming down through the green leaves of trees that towered above me, deer only a few feet away.
Nature was my playground, and my very conservative mother would continually chastise me for having mud encrusted trousers with knees and backside caked in the deep smell of earth and humus, green stained and grinning like the scallywag that I was.
At school, I would run off with my friends across the farmer’s fields, pick wild berries and nibbly things, and on frosty Autumnal days gorge ourselves on Sweet Chestnuts.
And so my love of the land deepened without even realising it, and all the growing, flying, slithering, crawling and walking things on it were seen as friends rather than something to fear.
Earth was good, dirt was good.
When I was 19 I moved to North Devon and discovered land even wilder than that which I knew as a child.
I suddenly found myself amongst people who had a vast knowledge of crafts, art and country-ways.
I was befriended by a couple who would take me out on lazy days and show me the hedgerow larder that was right in front of my eyes.
We feasted on many wild edible plants, including fresh fish caught from the sea only 2 miles away. Good fellowship and good eating.
Circumstances required me to eventually leave, and I entered the world of cities, concrete and steel.
I never totally lost my feel for the land, but the responsibility of bringing up a small child meant that my focus went elsewhere, and into earning a living.
Over ten years ago the call of the wild beckoned me once again, and so I forage and feast every day as I walk the land and receive from the Earth what she chooses to give me, continually learning the “art of the forager”.
These days I am a part-time nomad travelling the highways and byways of these Isles, as well as travelling the world learning from the indigenous plant healers I have been blessed to meet, always listening to and following the ancient whispers that talk to me through my heart.
My plant mentor was an extraordinary man called Frank Cook, but that chance meeting changed my life, and so I have surrendered my life to the primordial ancient Wild Flow, the one we are all born into, yet few have the courage to follow, and its only a crush, and a sniff and a nibble away.
Foraging is a deep journey into your soul, it is not to be taken lightly as the latest fad or craze, for once the plants have “got you” there is no turning back.
We think we are awake, think we are conscious. Well, go and meet a plant and you might just realise how blind you actually are!
With patience, eventually, that plant will take you down a country lane, down that green wall the plants most probably appear to you when you first start foraging.
Little by little as you engage with a plant, pay attention to it and love it for who it is, for what it gives you and for what you ultimately give back to it.
As you journey deep into this plant world that green wall slightly thins, becomes ever so translucent almost gossamer-like until you perceive the hedgerow through a green veil, and one day if you are very lucky, and if the Wild Redemeer chooses to bless you, one day you may part that green veil and enter a wonderland of plants, imagination and mystery.