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Do you feel comfortable in nature?

2019, Mar 15 | A Practice For Winter

Practice nature relatedness through feeling at ease in nature
– and a recipe ritual for homemade pesto

My ideal vacation spot would be a remote wilderness area

That is the nature relatedness statement we are working from with this practice. Think about it for a while; how true is this for you?

Do you tense up slightly at the idea of being out in the wilderness away from the comfort of our modern lives? Does the statement immediately make you think “How remote are we talking? Will there be cell connection?”
To many of us a city getaway is much more appealing than a weekend hike far away from the company of other people and the luxury of a restaurant cooked meal.

Interestingly, one of the benefits of a nature relatedness practice is also feeling less lonely. Of course, we all like human companionship, but as I have gone on this journey, I have a much deeper awareness of the life that always surrounds me. I don´t feel alone in the same way that I used to.

Watch the video below for a a perspective to put you in the right mindset for your nature relatedness practice.

Why did people worship trees?

That is the Beginner’s Mind question that will aid you in your nature relatedness practice.  To help expand your curiosity, watch the video below and then think with us. Put yourself in the shoes of your ancestors and imagine how they may have valued the trees.

 

Ritual – Homemade Pesto

We talked about how the more we develop our nature relatedness practice, the more stimulated and less lonely we feel in “the middle of nowhere” as being somewhere is no longer defined by how much human civilisation is around.  However, the reality of our lives means that we can´t always escape the city. I find the ritual of making homemade pesto with purpose is a great way to feel the relaxation of a walk in the woods, when in reality I am in my kitchen on Wednesday night!  Pesto comes from the Genoese word for “to pound or crush”, because that stress relieving motion is all you do to make this delicious sauce for pasta, spread for sandwiches or dip for veggies that creates a multitude of quick and fresh evening meals.

During the lean season in winter and spring, I keep an abundance of pasta in the cupboards and usually still manage to keep a few herbs growing on a windowsill. So, whilst pesto is something you can make in abundance in the summer and save for the winter, it is also a way to enjoy a fresh meal and eat locally and seasonally at the same time during the lean season. And the choices that you make as you prepare it can also help you give a little love to the trees.

 

Making pesto with walnuts

Traditionally, pesto calls for pine nuts. The majority of pine nuts on the market come from Asian and Russian forest floors and a rise in pine nut demand is causing ecosystem chaos.  Animals depend on pine nuts to live through the winter, forests depend on pine nuts to grow more forest and every life form on the planet depends on the trees in the forests to provide clean air for us to breath. Indeed, scientists are increasingly encouraging the planting of trees as trees can absorb and store carbon, making a critical contribution to global warming mitigation.

When we buy nuts, we honour our trees, but to make regenerative farming choices, we need to think beyond the tree, nut, human relationship and consider their impact on the wider ecosystem. If you happen to have a source of regional, fair trade, sustainably harvested pine nuts, lucky you! If in doubt, try to stock up on other organic nuts when they are in season. My favourite pesto is a parsley and walnut pesto, mixed with olive oil – another gift of the trees.

As you whip up your pesto, take a deep breath and remind yourself that every breath you take has been brought to you by trees. As you cook, consider the crunch of the walnuts and think of your feet walking in a forest.  As you dine, savour your food and consider how you don´t need a holiday to vacation in the wilderness, it is with you, wherever you are. #fromheadtohandstohabit

Recipe

Parsley and Walnut Pesto

Makes enough for 4 portions of pasta

Ingredients
  • 2 large bunches of parsley, stems and leaves washed and shopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 20 walnuts
  • 50 mL extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions for Mortar and Pestle

Pound the garlic in your mortar and pestle until it becomes a paste.  Next, break your walnuts into smaller pieces with your hands before adding them to the mortar and pestle.  Make a rotating motion, rubbing the nuts firmly against the side of the mortar until the nuts are ground and some of their oil has been released.  The next step, adding the parsley can be the most time consuming, but on the flip side, also the most meditative! Add the parsley handful by handful until you have a course, green paste.  As you go, adding small pinches of salt can act as an abrasive to break down the leaves. Once you have ground all the parsley, you can begin to add the olive oil. Your pesto will seem as a sum of separate parts, it won´t cling together in a green paste as the industrially processed pesto does.

If you are pressed for time, no worries.  This is a great go to dish for a mid-week meal.  Simply place the garlic and nuts in the food processor and pulse. Then, handful by handful add the parsley.  I often add a glug of olive oil as I go with the parsley to transition the texture into a sauce more easily. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and voila. All you need to do now is boil and drain your pasta and your meal will be complete in 20 minutes max.