Fairy Dust and Gratitude For Gathering
We are nature. Every single one of us. We are not above it, we are not distant from it, we are not beyond it. I think that it’s very easy to forget that we play a role in the ecological landscape just like any other animal would. Perhaps our marks are bigger (and certainly more destructive) but we are no different from the salmon in our rivers, the birds in our trees, even the mice in our pantries.
One of the biggest lessons that foraging has taught me is that harvesting from nature needs to be a reciprocal relationship. Communities that rely on foraging know this too - local Native American tribes leave offerings of tobacco or song when they harvest certain plants. In central America, sometimes those offerings are corn or pollen. In ancient Europe, it was customary to leave offerings to fruit-bearing trees, such as cakes or good ale. Even the ground was blessed at the start of spring with the first milking of the year. To someone who is used to plastic-wrapped meat and the shiny waxed apples of a supermarket, it may seem strange to pour perfectly good beer on the ground or leave something as special as good tobacco in the woods. After all, there is no evidence that milk makes grass grow quicker or that trees enjoy having cakes hung on their branches. But that is not the point of these actions.
These offerings are symbolic of our place in nature and our gratitude for it. It’s the same reason that you might be compelled to bake cookies for someone who recently helped you through a difficult situation, or to show up with a casserole for a grieving family. They are representations of the idea of “community,” that the earth that shares so many beautiful gifts with us deserves respect and gratitude, that we cannot take those bounties for granted. Just as the earth shares her medicines willingly with us when we are sick and hurting, so should we do our best to take care of her when she is hurting too.
I’ve recently started carrying a little bottle of “fairy dust” with me on my foraging expeditions. Each time I harvest from a patch of plants, I say a little thank you and leave a pinch behind. I’ve found that this practice helps to keep me grounded and constantly reminds me of my place in the world and my relationship with my landscape. It also helps motivate me to do my part as a steward - to pick up trash in the woods even if it is not mine, to scatter the seeds of soil-repairing plants after a fire, to pull up invasive weeds that are edging out native plants, and to never take the gifts I harvest for granted.
Fairy Dust Recipe:
So what is this fairy dust? It’s a sparkling concoction of dried flower petals, local native wildflower seeds, and a little bit of biodegradable glitter. (Make sure you use biodegradable glitter, since you’d just be polluting with plastic glitter!) Sending a pinch out into the wind is a wonderful feeling, knowing that the seeds will find new homes, the petals will return to the earth, and the glitter will remain only for a short time before it, too, returns to soil. Making your own blend must be custom - make sure you use wildflower seeds that are native to your area, since scattering the seeds of an introduced species could disrupt the local flora and fauna. Do some research before you begin. Use flower petals that haven’t been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. Be as mindful of what you are putting into the earth as you are of what you’re taking from it! Then, when you have your supplies sourced and ready, mix them in approximately these portions:
1 tsp. Biodegradable glitter
¼ c. local wildflower seeds
1 c. mixed dried flower petals
Mix well and then funnel into little jars to take into the woods with you or gift to your favorite little fairy.
Love what you’ve read here? Don’t forget to Subscribe to get frequent updates of new posts!
Huge thanks to my Patrons that make sharing all of these lovely posts with you possible (without all of the pop-ups and ads that make browsing other blogs so annoying). If you’re feeling generous, you too can support the wonder with a monthly contribution of your choice. Even $1 helps a lot! Your donation will help to fund this blog as well as my surprise free events and gifts for strangers. Learn more about this program at the link below: