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Time in a Bottle…

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It’s hard to pick up writing again. For me, journaling is not an old friend who  (though years may have passed) you can sit and sip coffee with like no time has turned at all. No, writing remembers…. So, I apologize if this is the other side of eloquent.

I have been working pretty non-stop for about a year, with but a few breaks in between, and though I am grateful, I can’t help but feel worn. This January we moved to Houston and have just gotten the chance to settle in to our little apartment with our equally little family.

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I am savoring all of these moments. These moments of early morning coffee, of the light casting an effervescent glow on the hardwood floors, of the smell of mint and rosemary perfuming the kitchen, of dinners eaten around the coffee table (because we haven’t gotten around to finding one for the kitchen just yet), of midday walks, and of late night conversations talking about everything, saying nothing.

These moments of just living. And breathing. And being enough.

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I’m rather introverted, hermit-like, and recluse-ish (and yes, those might very well mean the same thing), but I have found a small stage in this odd social realm here and on instagram.

I’ve always thought that photos can tell stories sometimes better than words can, capture candid, honest moments: slices in time. Those are the pictures and stories I find myself chasing, that I find myself hungry to tell… even if they are seemingly insignificant.

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These photos for instance portray our little family exploring the neighborhood; a simple act of taking a walk. But for me, this is the depiction of happiness, the closest thing I have to bottling memory.

I can look at these photos in this liminal space and smell spring, see Dexter relentlessly pestering the squirrels, hear the birdsong of finches and wren, and feel her kisses warm on my skin.

Where an outside viewer may just see flowers, I see happiness.

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xoxo

~ Lindsay

 

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And Maybe…. Mystery

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I point my ears to the farthest tree and listen to the needles sway and sing, like a nursery song remembered from childhood.

I’m thinking about mending, about restoring, about the remedy of words.
Dusk settles and my thoughts inch toward alone-ness. I sit on the edge of the dock, watching the light cast the evening in a thin film filled by dust particles. I think of the soul, of how, maybe it smells like the dampness of rain and if it can be mended. A soul who exists in autonomy, hermiting against the waking world.

Content to watch the seeds separate and sow, to watch the birds bend back their beaks in this August heat. The truth is: we exist only inside ourselves, our souls are dormant and our real selves, unactualized.

Often times, we are only ever half a real person. We whisper ourselves to sleep and drown in stagnant waters, warm, and maybe even comfortable.

And, so, the words we use to sooth ourselves begin to ring true; we listen without question, without second thought. It is here that I am reminded of all the tracks I’ve never crossed, all the ones I found myself stepping away from. Even still, I do not understand the reasons why I am here while you are not. I have woken and found myself standing in deep waters, waiting for my world to end. Just spirit encased in a body made of driftwood and echoes and maybe, mystery.

These photos were taken from my recent trip to Northern California. I had the opportunity to volunteer with the forest service to record petroglyphs during the day and the nights, I spent  among the wildwood.

 

Vibrancy & Vigor: An Ode to Vegetables

I currently reside in a shoebox apartment in the urban area of Austin, Texas. Though my space is a small one, I do try to keep a sensible garden. I’m not an expert gardener but slowly I have noticed my pale thumb turning increasingly green… leaving me thirstier for a bigger area to try my hand at seed and soil.

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“The word vegetable comes from the root that means the very opposite of immobile, passive, dull, or uneventful. Vegere means to animate, enliven, invigorate, arouse. Vegete means to grow, to be refreshing, to vivify, animate. From these roots come words such as vigil, vigilant, and vigor, with all their connotations of being wide-awake, alert, of keeping watch.

‘The understanding…was vagete, quick, and lively,” observed one critic in 1662. Ben Jonson described what he saw as desirable characteristics in woman, ‘faire, young, and vegetous.’ Such respect for the vegetable soul was not confined merely to a robust sensual life, but extended into the religious dimension.

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‘Man is righteous in his Vegetated Spectre,’ proclaimed Blake when commenting about the beliefs of the ancient Druids. Elsewhere it was insisted that ‘A vegetous faith is able to say unto a mountain, Be moved into the sea.’ The downward pull of vegetables, of the vegetable soul, has also provided exemplary images of being placed, of being grounded, of having roots.

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For example, Jung said, ‘I am fully committed to the idea that human existence should be rooted in the earth.’ He bemoaned modern culture’s lack of earth-based ancestral connections.

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As Henry Corbin put it, the past is not behind us, but beneath our feet. What better way to touch the ground than through cabbages, which the poet Robert Bly says ‘love the earth.’ The word root comes from the Indo-European root ra, meaning to derive, to grow out of. To be ‘radical’ is get back to the roots. Radish stems from the same etymological roots.”

Peter Bishop, The Greening of Psychology: The Vegetable World in Myth, Dream, and Healing

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“Plants have the ability to transmit energy. Plants draw in and transform earth and water and nutrients and light and make their bodies out of them. Plants are a manifestation of these forces being woven together, and we humans have relied on them to sustain us since the beginning of our evolution. In cultures that are close to the earth I see a recognition of the power of plants to hold and draw energy and to move it along, thereby changing in a healing way. The plant world is constantly whispering to us, if we can hear it.”

– Kathleen Harrison (“Women, Plants, and Culture,” Moonwise)

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Micros we get from Joe’s Organics out in East Austin (check out his farm, if you live in the area)

“Many bright people are really in the dark about vegetable life. Biology teachers face kids in classrooms who may not even believe in the metamorphosis of bud to flower to fruit and seed, but rather, some continuum of pansies becoming petunias becoming chrysanthemums; that’s the only reality they witness as landscapers come to campuses and city parks and surreptitiously yank out one flower before it fades from its prime, replacing it with another. The same disconnection from natural processes may be at the heart of our country’s shift away from believing in evolution. In the past, principles of natural selection and change over time made sense to kids who’d watched it all unfold. Whether or not they knew the terms, farm families understood the processes well enough to imitate them: culling, selecting, and improving their herds and crops. For modern kids who intuitively believe in the spontaneous generation of fruits and vegetables in the produce section, trying to get their minds around the slow speciation of the plant kingdom may be a stretch.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

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“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. ”
― Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

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“The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.”
― Michael Pollan

 

10 Useful Herbs for Everyday Magic

“… Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.”

― Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

 


 

I am working on a sort of directory of different herbs, their medicinal and magical properties as well as the folklore associated with them. Though I am not an herbalist, I am a cook / anthropologist and have always been fascinated with how herbs play into flavor, culture, magic, old life ways and seem to have collective past all of their own.

I figured I’d start with the 10 that always seem to have a place in my pantry:

  1. Thyme –  Thyme can be found in most modern kitchens due to its culinary uses, but it great for magical work as well. It attracts devotion, friendliness, and admiration from others, making it great for spells and rituals regarding relationships, particularly new ones, including interviews. Additionally, thyme can be used to attract good health, luck and money, banish negativity, and purify your home.
  2. Rosemary – Like thyme, rosemary has a wide variety of uses including purification, love healing, and good luck. It’s a staple for your cabinet for cookery and kitchen witchery alike. Plus, I can’t think of many things that smell better.
  3. Lavender – What a vision this herb is, blooming in a color that doesn’t quite seem real, with a softness and fragrance to match its otherworldliness. Use lavender for love, luck, healing, and dream magic.
  4. Tulsi– Also known as Holy Basil, Tulsi is regarded as life support to many. It is a staple in many tisanes and can be used for calming anxiety, mental clarity, serenity, and happiness.
  5. Bay Leaves – Common in broths & brews alike. This herb is often used to ward off negativity and to enhance dreams.
  6. Anise – Use in sachets for mulled wine, ground up for baked goods, to repel the evil eye, and to restore lost youth.
  7. Linden – Used in soothing herbal teas for cold and flu. Linden is also said to lesson grief and aid in calming.
  8. Dandelion – Often unappreciated as a garden weed, dandelion greens are actually very nutritious. Blend the leaves to create an excellent pesto, or dry for a tea. Dandelion is used for wish making and convening with “spirits.”
  9. Sage – Of course you’ve heard of / seen/ used burned bundles of sage to cleanse spaces, and repel negativity. Use sage in kitchen magic to to very much the same. Sage brings luck, focused intention, wisdom, and protection.
  10. Lemon Balm  – Dried for sachets or used in tea, Lemon balm aids with sleep, clarity, dreams, and fecundity.

*It’s important to note that one should always seek out clean herbs, not prone to pesticides or any foreign additives. Also keep in mind that herbs expire. If you are cooking with them, they are best to dry yourself, keep whole, and store in a dark, dry area. Always buy or gather from reputable sources.

A Simple Silence

How to Be a Poet
(to remind myself)
BY WENDELL BERRY

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity…

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Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

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Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

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Pickle Soup (Zupa Orgorkowa)

A lovely, light, spring or summer soup.

*Note: It is important to use brined cucumbers (sour cucumbers) as opposed to the sweet, vinegar based ones you find in the grocery store. You can easily make your own using this recipe.


Ingredients

  • 20 g (3/4 oz) Butter
  • 300 g (10 1/2 oz) Polski Ogorkie (those brined dill cucumbers) thinly sliced, or grated (reserve the pickle juice to add to broth.)
  • 2-3 Potatoes (russets or yukons work great,) peeled, diced
  • 1-2 Carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1 liter (35fl oz/4C) Soup stock (I use chicken stock or bone broth…. but you can easily make this recipe vegetarian or vegan by substituting for veg. & using sunflower oil instead of butter).
  • 60 ml (2fl oz / 1/4 cup) cream (for pouring)
  • Fresh, chopped dill

Instructions 

Melt butter in stock pot over medium heat, after foam separates add in sliced cucumbers. Reduce heat,  stir and wait until softened. Remove cucumbers and reserve. Add potatoes, carrots, and stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook veg until soft. Add pickles and cook for another 5-10 min. Season to taste with salt, add in pickle juice for a tang (don’t make it overly sour). Finish the soup with a splash of cream and fresh dill.

Smacznego!

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