Because I’m not really at the bottom of the Maslow’s hierarchy, most of my scavenging has more to do with making my life richer and more enjoyable. On my run this morning, I noticed some pine boughs that had been trimmed from the last storm and looked like perfect material to make a few holiday wreaths. There was also a patch of wild grasses and berries that could be added for decoration. By building the wreath from these gathered materials, it brings the longer lasting pleasure of evoking the smells and briskness of my early morning runs each time I see the wreath.On the next level of practicality is the instinct to garden and prepare for next spring. The alleyway is full of goodies: pine needles to use for mulch around the blueberries, to help acidify the soil. Bags of leaves are wonderful. Just add composting worms into the center of the pile where it will stay warm, and by spring these will be bags of wonderful compost. The soild from old potted plants can be shaken out to add to a garden bed. And I’ve marked the spots along the path where wild asparagus grows, looking forward to the young shoots in the spring.
The squirrels already got most of the nuts, but I was still able to harvest some black walnuts. And the rosehips are at their best after a frost, when they become sweeter. The same is true for the few grapes left on my neighbors vines. They are the tastiest and sweetest raisins, processed by the very best – mother nature.
I could go on, but it really is a matter of looking and seeing. All of these things can be purchased in the store, but the point is not really about the material goods. This is my way of connecting to place, to gain some small measure of self-sufficiency, to note the passing of time. It helps me understand that I am just part of the greater system of the world, not in the center, but as one of the elements. And for me personally, to look to my own essential self, to make sure I am really ‘harvesting’ my core strength and "seeing" the real opportunities.