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Blog: On Health. On Writing. On Life. On Everything.

Spring Greens

March 30, 2012

Tags: order, herbs, food, bicycle, budding, chives, dandelion, delicatessen, excitement, flowers, garden, garden tea, garlic, life, liver health, skin health, smiling, spring fatigue, observing, olive oil, poisonous plants, salad, Spring Greens, sprouting, stinging nettle, tea – herbal, vigor, winter blah, year - seasons, spring, sun, renewal, blooming, life, passion, winter - eternal

This is the time of the year to eat chives, dandelion leaves and flowers, and stinging nettle leaves from the garden. They replenish you with new vigor against the winter blah and spring fatigue. They flush your liver and bring a glow to your skin. And a smile to your face.

Stinging nettles, of course, should be stripped from the stalks (wear gloves!) and be cooked – a delicatessen with olive oil and fresh garlic! Chives you can munch right from the garden, and dandelions are good as salad, as cooked greens or as a tea. Have you ever made a glass teapot with the rich green of garden plants, sunny from the buttery-yellow flowers of dandelions? Yes, it’s time again for a garden tea! Anything that isn’t poisonous can go in.

All this is not new, of course. Just a reminder. But the essence of spring is exactly this yearly renewal! Nothing new under the sun, they say – but let’s not forget that this yearly renewal is the most wonderful thing that can happen: the blooming again of life, of passion, of being alive! Think it would NOT happen, and instead, we’d got eternal winter. That would be the end of life. So, go out every day now – perhaps on your bike, like I did today - and observe how little things sprout out of the soil or how buds burst open. Yes, it happens every year, nothing special about it – but boy-oh-boy – how it does get me excited!

World Oceans Day 2011

June 8, 2011

Tags: water, August, congee, Earth, earthquakes, family, fires, floods, Gaia, Gaia hypothesis, grape leaves, Maine, morning ritual, ocean, plagues, rains - torrential, renewal, sauerkraut, sencha tea, summer, tea – green, tornados, tsunamis, vermin, whales, World Oceans Day 2011

Water is the most precious stuff of life. We drink it, we bathe in it, we revere it.

This morning I had a shower, then drank a sencha tea and ate a bowl of congee with sauerkraut and grape leaves. None of my morning ritual would work without water.

In August we will return to our cabin in Maine. It is small, but it is at the ocean, and so important for our family – most of our renewal starts there, every summer.

What is important today, on World Ocean Day 2011: That you tell at least one youngster to work on saving the waters, the whales, the life of our old Earth.

You know the Gaia hypothesis, don’t you? According to the Gaia hypothesis, our old Earth, Gaia, is an organism of her own – and we are just some lice in her hair. Isn’t that exactly the impression she gives us presently? She is shaking herself to get rid of the vermin on her surface by sending tsunamis, fires, tornados, earthquakes, torrential rains, floods, and plagues.

Regardless, if the Gaia hypothesis is right or wrong – it helps me to see my task better: To protect our old Earth as much as I can. Because she is the only home we have.

The Doctor Is Sick

May 15, 2010

Tags: order, Barbery - Muriel (born 1969), Boston, cold, flu, Gauguin - Paul, mortality, Muriel Barbery, Paris, Paul Gauguin, renewal, soul-being, The Doctor Is Sick

I have a cold. A bad cold, not a flu. With humiliating running nose, headaches and general crabbiness.

You might think doctors should not get sick, especially not natural doctors. I couldn’t agree more. But here I am finding myself in bed, unkempt, headachy, sleeping, reading (“The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barberry – marvelous!), sleeping again – and suddenly I feel happy.

I needed this. I needed the quiet, the no-demand, the thinking break.

See, most of the time, we are social animals, defined by what we do with others, for others. But there is, deep down, this other part of ourselves: the unsocial part, the pure soul-being. The part that asks why we are here on Earth.

As a sick child, I was bedridden often. All I did was reading and dreaming.

Paul Gauguin’s most famous picture is a huge canvas, covering a wall, not of a home but fit for a railroad station. It is called: “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?” It hangs here in Boston in the Fine Arts Museum and shows South Sea people in their natural state, in their natural habitat. It was this picture that Gauguin hurled into the face of well-heeled, fin-de-siècle Paris.

Those ultimate questions that cannot really be answered have to be asked, anyway. And it seems to me, I do that best in bed, alone, not quite fresh smelling, and confronted with my mortality – yes, even if it is just a banal cold that hit me. I know, in a day or two, I will re-emerge into real life full of energy, deep thoughts for writing and good intentions. I needed this renewal.

Beltane in the Woods

May 3, 2010

Tags: order, Beltane, Beltane in the Woods, biochemistry, Earth, evening star, Gaia, Kneipp - Sebastian, poem, renewal, Sebastian Kneipp, spring, Venus, witchcraft

Enter the Circle, the holy ring,
Behold what the Goddess of Life will bring.
The Circle of Day—Moon and Sun,
The Circle of Year—summer, fall, winter, spring,
The Circle of Life—babe, maid, mother, crone,
Dust to dust. The circle forms a new beginning.

Prime of year, joy of flowers—
Mystery of spring—of thee we sing.
Hallow the forces of spring and creation,
Leave behind your wintry sedation.
Green wood inspires, friendship blooms,
Fruitfulness soars and health resumes.

Last Friday was Beltane – yes, the night when witches fly around on their brooms. We were driving up to Maine to open our cottage . The sun went under in a pale, pale pink horizon under a spring-blue sky, promising a beautiful next day. Night settled and the evening star, Venus, appeared - the “lovers’ star.” The moon had just peaked two nights ago. It was eerie and lovely.

No, I am not into witchcraft. But I work with the same herbs the people of old tried to understand. Nowadays, science helps me out: You wouldn't believe how much biochemistry is floating around at herbal conferences!

But the renewal in spring is as vital now as it was for the ancient. If Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” would come true, the whole human race would perish. (Don’t worry about Gaia, our Earth - she would survive, repeople herself with a hopefully more gentle, considerate race. If not that, at least the molds and lichens and bacteria would survive, and start the process of evolution all anew).

Beltane has special meaning for me because I am a gardener and herbalist, because I depend on healthy nature all around me – and because a Beltane celebration in the woods opens my “Sebastian” novel (the poem is taken from it).
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

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