Sep 25, 2008

tumbling weeds

Always homesick for the Sonoran Desert, but far, far away in the northeast, I consider myself a bit of a tumbleweed, blown far from home. The tumbleweeds pictured are by Patrick Dougherty and can be found at the Desert Botanical Garden. They are actually made of willows, not salsola. I often think of "tumbling" back to my beloved desert home, but can't justify doing so: The population there grows in leaps in bounds, far more people than the land and its aquafers can support.

I was thrilled to learn about Desert Harvesters, a grassroots organization that teaches Tucsonans to harvest rainwater; plant local food trees; and harvest, process, and store that food. Pictures of happy people eating mesquite pancakes with prickly pear syrup abound. My favorite grocery ever, the Food Conspiracy Coop is participating in the eat local challenge with other respectable groups like the Community Food Security Center, who help people learn to identify existing wild foods and how to "glean" them. These efforts make me want to be home to learn more about thriving (lightly) in the desert.

I'll be good, and instead go looking for lamb's quarters and burdock growing around my current home. As the temperatures drop, tonic teas have an allure of their very own. A good Leslie Marmon Silko or Barbara Kingsolver book can give me a taste of the Sonoran Desert, while I tune my senses to the specific smells and flavors of the Hudson Valley.

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