Where the Heart Is

November 9th, 2013

morel sochane friends

Dorothy: If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard, because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with. Is that right?
Glinda: That’s all it is!
Scarecrow: But that’s so easy! I should’ve thought of it for you.
Tin Man: I should have felt it in my heart.
Glinda: No, she had to find it out for herself.
Baum and Langley, The Wizard of Oz

Foraging is an opportunity to experience the fundamental joy of life. Happiness comes from knowing we are HOME. Being home means that there is nowhere else we need to be. We are safe here. We have enough.

In his final, unfinished manuscript, Wild Fruits, Thoreau writes that “the value of these wild fruits is not in the mere possession or eating of them, but in the sight and enjoyment of them.” Foraging is not about how to get more; it’s about appreciating what you already have.

The more we eat here now, exploring, savoring, and celebrating THIS time and place, the more we rediscover Eden, finding greater comfort with the land, our food, and each other. We revel in real eating and real-ating. This heart-to-hearth connection offers solace in the soil and communion in community. Coming home to eat, we find what truly feeds us.

You can teach someone to fish or you can teach them to make a friend. Friendship is worth more than food; it’s worth more than medicine. The only sickness on Earth is lovesickness, yet we have love all around us. None of us is ever alone.

Foraging, then, is about reconnection. You cannot be unhappy or unsafe unless you’re separate. How can you lack what I have if we are one?

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that “we are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” When you see that we’re all family here — all humans, animals, plants, rocks… everything — you can feel at home wherever you are. You no longer need to treat anyone as an enemy or life as a problem to be solved.

This is not something you can decide to believe. You can’t just close your eyes and click your heels together. Only seeing is believing. Home must be felt, experienced, tasted. “No one,” says Wendell Berry, “can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.”

Fortunately, coming home is as simple as coming to your senses. There’s no need to go home when you’re already there.

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