Out of the ground

August 5, 2019 · Print This Article

If you were to ask me what my best outdoor survival strategy was, I would probably say Tesco’s! But after spending last week in the scenic Welsh south coast countryside of Pendine, I have a different answer.

My experience was to turn out more Bear Grylls than cashier tills! Gathered around a campfire, with nettle bread in the pan, I was about to visit a very different supermarket: the British countryside where the food is free.

The summer camp I attend each year (SEP) has always been a place for stepping out of my proverbial comfort zone and learning more about the natural wonder that surrounds us. Last week, our instructor, Dan, took us no more than 30 paces down this a pick n’ mix pathway! Dandelion, silverweed, wood sorrel, broadleaf plantain, and, apparently, any berry that grows on a plant with thorns on was good to eat! Who know the ground of the British countryside was so full of edibles (and I’m not talking drugs!). And get this, if you are looking for a bit of pain relief, then why don’t you try a bit of willow bark(!) which works the same way as aspirin does, by reducing inflammation and pain as it enters your bloodstream.

This experience reminded me that the earth is kind to us. On some level, the personification of the earth as a nurturing mother makes sense, after all, 95% of the food we eat comes from the soil! But this ‘mother’ has been somewhat under-visited with our modern lifestyle.

As I made my acquaintance, once again, with this Britain, I am reminded of a long-lost appreciation for this ‘promised land’ once echoed by Shakespeare in his play Richard II: “this sceptered isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-paradise”!

Just like the biblical Eden where “out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food”[1], I can see somehow we have in this ‘other Eden’ our very own pleasant and good food to eat. Happy eating.

Notes:

[1] The Bible, Genesis 2:9 (NKJV)

[Photo by Eduardo Jaeger on Unsplash]

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