Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pinyon juniper scrublands

A cool wind blows through the pinyon juniper scrubland, and I think of my senior friend who passed last summer.

"She had an extreme, ecstatic response to nature," her lifelong friend said. How perfect. That description said more to me than her words could convey.

I open an old pinyon nut shell, and note its emptiness. I wonder if any human has eaten the pine nuts from this shady spot overlooking one of the many arches of this incredible national park. I remember the last time I collected pine nuts, salting and roasting them in abundance at Valley View, my favorite hot springs in Colorado. I ate so many pine nuts that I got a stomachache, but still I wandered/wondered in amazement that these little nuts had sat, undeveloped, all around me for years, never knowing that such a feast could await me... Only once every 7 years. No wonder pine nuts are so expensive!

How could one grow a field of them and have the financial stability to survive for so long, when they produce their edible cornucopia so rarely? I haven't gathered a wild pinyon nut since.

Wait! This is year 7! I wonder if they will ripen again this year! Is the timing that reliable?

This I ponder as I allow my thoughts to wander quietly in the shade of the scrubland.

I've been thinking a lot about John Muir, Ed Abbey, and John Wesley Powell. Ed and John Wesley knew these scrublands intimately. They knew these canyons with their green streams streaking through it long before I was even a speck of existence in my great-grandparent's time.

We would have all been friends if we'd been alive together- John, John Wesley, Ed, and I. Who were the unsung females heroes of this movement that I embody? Rachel Carson is the only one I know.

Were there others? Did they write of their experiences? It seems as though it is my turn to follow in those footsteps.


  1. Your blog post reminds me of one of our first hikes to Lost Lake. You are so knowledgeable about edibles along the trail. Up for lunch at Lucilles?

  2. You are writing wonderful things. I just read about Mim, and now about the scrubland and the pine nuts and the adventurers. I will continue to read your blog. Awesome!