The grass is green, we all know that. Some of us even know that walking barefoot is not only good for the soul, the entire body benefits from such a simple act as grounding.
But how much do you really know? How connected are you to the diverse earthly greens beneath your feet?
It is nearly summer here in Scotland and the shades of green are nothing short of amazing.
The buttercups (Ranunculus acris) are blooming where they can find sun.
The intensely fragrant gorse is in full blossom, smelling of a spilled coconut Piña Colada when the winds blow your way – and they often do. It allows one to reminisce about beach weather, despite the fact it is barely ten degrees… Never mind about that, gorse flowers happen to be edible, so are spruce buds a tasty Christmas tree bite at the moment, if you are adventurous there is an all weather feast for the taste buds out there.
The wild garlic is delicately flowering in the hedgerows, ready to make its exit, while the dandelion takes over with foot long leaves which are excellent in foraged salads if we do say so ourselves.
Which brings us to the nettle, the tasty, stinging wee beast that makes children cry and brings them out in a tell-tale rash. Little do most care to bother, they are edible too! You can make nettle quiche or a refreshing herbal tea. Nettle nourishes your body with iron, silica, calcium, magnesium and sulphur. Wear gloves and use scissors when harvesting so you can reap all that is wonderful from this harmless plant.
For spring beauty the rhododendrons are pinking out and attracting insects to their sweet nectar, the ferns are unfurling and the oak leaves are very slowly coming into existence with the warming days.
Daffodil yellow has long faded away, now being replaced along every fence as far as the eye can see – fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) is her name. Green at first sight, quite edible at this stage, then switching to brilliant violet in a month or so.
And there is more!
More flowers, more herbs, more grass, more insects, more slugs, more life, more of everything the closer you look.
What is under your feet is a living, breathing, transpiring Earth. And it is a green being that we should tread on with great care.
The next time you think of more, ask yourself “more of what?“. More mindful time in nature relaxing from the technology of work or more stuff to temporarily make you feel happier.
Objects may bring you pleasure, but experiences will bring lasting memories and happiness will be found with like-minded people around you. Naturally some stuff may still be involved in communal affairs (mugs, bowls, plates, hemp cloth napkins, ethical aprons, etc.), so embrace the natural, the artistic and the creative and then take some much needed time off line.
Go to a beach, wander trails in a park or a forest, travel near to explore what is out there, right now, at this very moment. Experience nature with freshly opened eyes and be in awe over the beauty and bounty to see and to eat that is freely given to those clever folks who forage.
nine steps from the door
and close at hand
is a world of plants
we fail to understand
we mow them down
to create tidy lawns
with no spikes, nor thistles or even tiny thorns
monoculture is not nature
the elves whispered in the mist
nature is green and wild, layered and diverse
listen to them as they dance among dense trees
for they are wise
– and they absolutely insist
Enjoy the fresh wild greens and learn what is under your feet. Read books, take a course, forage with a mentor to appreciate nature before it is too late.
As for me, I will eat a spruce bud or two or three next time I walk down the track and bunches of fireweed are right outside the kitchen door waiting to be boiled into a nourishing tea.
Look high, look low, everywhere there is food when you are in the know.
What’s growing under your feet? Let us know in the comments below!