I am searching for the voice inside

that never ends,

needs no edit,

listens to all,

yet beckons to none.

photo by Helen Geisler

photo by Helen Geisler

I am alive.

I am well.

My picture, my reflection

is different than I would’ve

imagined.

But it is real now.

I can’t pretend

that I am better

or worse,

I am as I am.

Sleep comes quickly

every night

I dream and dream and dream

of sweet love and hopeful thoughts.

this is

my life.

thank you.

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photo by Helen Geisler

There’s been no love lost in the past twelve years and freedom has surged into the darkest of hearts.  Force and weaponry are the true catalysts of democracy.  I pushed a button, a little black button, and the result of that action was thrust through a series of wires that brought me to the first world, the remains of the first world.  There I found long lists of demands and requests, I found limits on my brain, like shackles on a gorilla, forced into captivity upon appearance alone.  Only understanding leads to love, how can you love something if you don’t understand it.  As we bury children across the globe, for their benefit no doubt, I am left wondering where the delicious sense of victory, the heightened sense of superiority, the frenzied lust of domination is?  I thought this last decade of kicking ass and spreading Jesus’ golden light across the entire face of the Earth would leave me elated and high strung, like a stallion with a dark and oily erection.  But, no, I feel naked and alone.  I feel like a young teen on anti-depressants.  I can see the darkness, and am drawn to know it, yet I have never touched it, it has never been encountered, never faced and so the ugly ruminations of my, of our, collective dysfunction have only become more images perverted, more insane, more normal. Wouldn’t it be nice if the tale were all just true, like a beautiful childhood fairy tale.  I wish I could just open their godly book and read it, like an instruction manual, and follow it into Yahweh’s gleaming kingdom as it stands, decorated with naked babies and harps and demons.  That would be so nice.  It would be so nice to just get a job, after school of course, and work, and work, and work, and work until yes, the time came for a beautiful viagra retirement, where I could prune my square bushes and read fancy novels to my beautiful yet wrinkled spouse.  We could vacation in El Salvador, or Myanmar, maybe take a trip with Kim Jong Un and Dennis Rodman, see the sights and break bread with Putin, and Bush, Obama, and all of the other despots who actually aren’t despots.   No they are not, they are brave and good men fighting, as well, for the light of our lord, the Christ, to bring salvation and drugs, ammunition and solidarity, low wages and pedophilia to every corner of this wild and free planet spinning, as it likes to do, in the middle of fucking no where…

Aside  —  Posted: May 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

morel

It’s that time of the year again!  The young,electric green has sprung back into the trees, the flowers have begun to bloom in the redbuds, in the dogwoods and the showy orchids are sprouting in the hollows!  The vernal quarter of our annual circle has replaced the monotonous yet striking stark of winter with pure, unadulterated life.  This season is always exciting in the southeastern woodlands.  It is like a match has been set to dry tinder, boom!  Life is back! morel habitat One of my favorite parts of this season is the return of the morel mushroom.  I wait for it every year and each year it comes but always in it’s own special way and time.  No two years are alike and this year is no exception.  Last year came on quick, March was hot and the leaves and growth of spring came earlier than I had ever seen in my fifteen years of east coast living.  The morels followed suit and by March 24 we were collecting them.  Then a dry spell hit at the would be peak time and dried everything out.  There never really was a second bloom.  Usually the morels rise from the forest floor in succession.  It seems the blacks come first, then the little grays, and I’m not sure if it’s the grays that turn into big yellows or if the yellows do their own thing, and then, after about three weeks to a month, it is over.  As I speak I’d say we’re about two weeks in and it is a late season.  This spring has been cool and slow to progress. There has been good moisture with light rains falling sporadically over the entire “window” that is the yearly cycle of the morel.
morel tableThe numbers of mushrooms I have been finding in my favorite spots have not been stellar, though I am not complaining.  It is hard for me to wander far from my usual picking haunts as they have provided great harvests in the past, though I know there are other places that must be just sitting there, full of gorgeous, mature morels waiting for me to stumble upon them.  I try to scout a bit each year for new spots and I have walked miles this year doing so, though so far I have not found the new treasures I had hoped for.  All is well, though, my payment has been in solitude and time spent in beautiful places witnessing the rebirth of Spring!

Josie morel

My daughter Josie Mae with a fat basket

The morel is a magical fruit of the forest, it is so strange and enchanting that when you do happen upon one it is as if you are living in a fairy tale, they are quintessentially other worldly, though we often tend to forget that we live on a planet in outer space!  The morel plainly brings that fact into focus.  Each year the blooming of the morels tends to coincide with Easter.  I’ve always thought of the morel hunt as sort of an epic adult Easter egg hunt without all the corny rabbit laying eggs bullshit, this deal is real!

Hunting morels is enthralling and worth it’s weight in gold gastronomically as the morel is one of the tastiest mushrooms on Earth!  The morel does grow in all of the United States so, if I were you, I’d look it up in your region, see when it blooms and then, at the right time, head out and begin your search.  This is a great way to enter the endless world of wild food foraging and really scratch that primal itch.  You need be aware of a poisonous look alike that is called the false morel.  Look it up.  When you get to know the two you will see that they are easy to tell apart, but until then be vigilant and if you find what you think are morels consult someone in the know before ingesting them.  If you run into a huge patch don’t panic, they are easy to dry and store so that you can enjoy them throughout the year.

morels and greens

Morels with garlic mustard and dock, two varieties of wild forest greens

My best luck in finding morels has been in deep hollows with poplars, spice bush, showy orchids and the like.  I do best where the soil is a deep black and is loose and rich.  I have also lucked upon them in riverbeds in the silty soil many times clustered around Ash trees and Sycamores and Elms.  There are many tales of where to find them, I find all rules can be broken but that some general consistencies do hold true.  Lately some guy on a morel message board site has been claiming that cedar thickets put out tons of big yellows.  I have not confirmed this personally but remain intrigued.  I know that out west they also grow in coniferous forests and like burn sites.  Apple orchards, or abandoned orchards, have also been mentioned many times.   During this time of the year I can imagine them everywhere but don’t always find them everywhere.  They are magical, mystical and worth every ounce of energy you put into finding them.  Bring your kids along!  They increase the number of mushrooms you will bring home and they love the thrill of the hunt!  I have spent many a day with the kids picking to our hearts content all the while reveling in the beauty of our Earth.  At this time of year the forests are coming alive and when we spend time in them, we come alive too.  Morel hunting is a great way to reignite your connection to all of life.  We are blessed beings living in a blessed Universe.  Go check it out!!!

Jam Jars into Wine Glasses…

Posted: March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

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We like this fancy french jam called Bonne Maman that really isn’t too heavy on the pocket book but is high quality and delicious.  I’ve always washed and re-used good glass jars when I’m done with whatever came in them and these were no different.  After washing a bunch of them I realized I had me a set!  I do, we do, like wine!  Regular wine glasses are easy to break and top heavy to boot with a fragile stem.  I’ve never had one that lasted more than a couple weeks in my kitchen or home.  Here was my solution!  The jam jars are now fancy little glasses with Bonne Maman embossed across the front to give them that chic Euro look.  They make great wine sipping devices and look cute as hell!  I’ve had many compliments on them.  I love to see things have many uses, and nature never makes something without it serving more than one purpose.  I think human beings should be no different.  Why spend hard earned money on bullshit products that cost a lot when you can re-use your jam jars and look just as regal?  You can do this with much more than glasses, but for today this is as far as we’ll go!  I hope you all are well and happy in your beautiful worlds!!!  Go get some jam!!!

Fire

Posted: March 20, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Photo by the Author

When the season changes and the leaves begin to fall, the air becomes cool.  I can sense the difference, the dying of the warmth, the dying of the growing time.  I begin to withdraw inward.  Daylight becomes shorter, the sun is low in the sky.  When the sun holds it’s heat back from us I must find new warmth to sustain and nurture my self, my family, through the coming winter.  For many years I have warmed my bones with the bones of the trees, the grand and ancient forest that has surrounded me for many moons.  I collect my favorite kinds of wood, as there are many, for they give off strong and sustaining heat that lasts through the cold winter nights.  This eternal woodland is gracious and good, so generous.  It supplies my meat, my mushrooms, many herbs and a wide variety of nuts as well as cool, clean and vital water, as well as so much more.  It provides the sustaining fire that allows me to be happy, warm and content with my loved ones as we wait for our glorious father, the Sun, to return yet again….  In gratitude.

Dates and Tahini!!

Posted: March 18, 2013 in Uncategorized
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photo by Helen Geisler

imgres-3Simple, delicious flavors rule!  I’ve been searching out simple, delicious and healthful snacks that are basically pure.  Here is one of them.  We’ve been eating lots of dates lately for dessert.  They can’t be beat for their texture, flavor and sweetness.  I also love the fact that they come from palm trees, well Date Palm Trees to be exact.  I love palm trees!  I had some tahini sitting up in one of my shelves and one day, as I was eating dates, I thought, holy shit, man, these dates would be great with that tahini.  Tahini is a trip.  For those of you who don’t know it is a “butter” of sorts made from sesame seeds, ground sesame seeds, just like you do with peanuts to get peanut butter.  They have similarities, peanut butter and tahini, but the tahini is lighter and smoother and not as nutty.  So that one day I grabbed one of my Medjool dates and stuck it in my jar of tahini and ate it!  I was pleasantly surprised!  The two flavors go incredibly well together.  I guess you could liken it to peanut butter and chocolate, for those of you who like peanut butter cups.  These two Middle Eastern ingredients sort of take you away to a different time and place.  They take me to a desert oasis with a big plush, colorful tent full of hookahs and pretty girls and dates and tahini!  This snack is sensuous and sophisticated while being rustic and natural at the same time.  This would also be a good combo to put out at a party as something exotic and intriguing.  You could fill a small, pretty bowl with tahini and then put that bowl on a plate.  Add the dates around the bowl on the plate and there you have it… a dip!  Give this one a try some time.  And if this is a first time using tahini look it up, find some recipes and experiment with it.  It is great in salad dressings!  For all of us who are working on simplifying their worlds and bodies with whole foods, this one is great for the list!  Let me know what you think!

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I love jalapenos.  I love spicy food in general.  I love pickled and fermented foods.  Pickled and fermented foods love me.  It’s a great relationship.  I’m striving to get my other relationships in such a lovely state.  I grew up thinking pickled foods must be difficult to make.  At first glance it appears the process would take a lot of time, patience and skill to do it right and have it come out well.  I was wrong on all accounts.  It is crazy easy.  This particular “essay” is on Jalapenos, but you could do any vegetable you like.  You could even do hard boiled eggs, little fishes, mushrooms, whatever…  Some vegetables are good to pound first, like cabbage when making “sauerkraut.”  Even then it is not completely necessary.  This technique also allows mild fermentation which produces many healthful and beneficial side effects for your gut, and elsewhere.  FDA approval?  I quit listening to the FDA a long time ago.  So here’s how to do it.  Brace yourself!

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photo by Helen Geisler

Take a bunch of jalapenos, the jar pictured has about eight large jalapenos.  I cut them into “rounds” and put them in a quart sized mason jar.  Be careful not to rub your eyes or any other sensitive areas.  I could tell you a funny story about that, well not eyes, but it isn’t appropriate for this blog!  Fill the jar nearly to the top with your peppers.  You can also add onions, carrots or other types of peppers.  I happened to have a red pepper around that needed to be used so I cut it up and put it in too.  Grab some herbs, whatever you like, it is fun to experiment with different ones, and put them in too.  Use an amount that seems reasonable.  I have yet to find a herb that I used that I didn’t end up liking.  I then add two tablespoons of sea salt.  After adding your salt fill your jar to nearly the top with fresh, good water, preferably from a nearby, untainted spring.  Good water is important.  Once full with water put the lid on and shake.  I like to make sure everything gets well distributed and that the salt is fully dissolved.  Once this is done I wipe the jar and then put it up on the shelf.  Don’t hide it away!  It will look beautiful out where people can see it.  I usually wait three to four days before eating them.  The spice will diminish with time which is sometimes nice as the fresh jalapenos can be super hot at times.  I find the flavor mellows with time and the elixir becomes very rich.  I have had certain batches around for months at a time and they remain delicious and nutritious.  Don’t be alarmed if air comes out when you first open the lid.  It can happen each time you open it.  I am so addicted to these things!  Jars of them don’t last long.  I am moving on to experiment with other vegetables as well and will keep you informed of my progress.   I really did make pickled fish once.  My friend and I had caught a bunch of “chubs” from a nearby river.  The chubs are not prime cooking fish and have lots of bones.  We cut a bunch into nice filets and then put them in just as described above.  We let them sit for quite a while, a week or two.  When it came time to try them I was nervous as pickled fish seemed a big stretch for me at the time.  I was blown away at their flavor, texture and how much I truly enjoyed them!  Unbelievable.  Our kids were young at the time, my friend’s and mine, and they formed a little musical group.  What did they call their band?  The Pickled Chubs of course!  Anyway, the sky is the limit.  It seems the more I learn the more I realize that quality food is simple and that this Earth is incredibly abundant!  What a magical world!  Spice up your life!  Much love to you and yours!