Foraging: Indulging The Senses

Foraging: Indulging The Senses
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In search for indulging the senses

We have a saying indulging the senses but is it an indulgence? The senses are essential to our well being and happiness. I write today of senses in the natural context of sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, they all provide us with data for perception and give us a fuller intelligence of the world around us.

In today’s piece, we shall explore scents enchantment, the sweet side to reawaken our connection with natures sensual notes of description that defy the written word, a multi layered world of incredible depth, scent being a facet we need to become reacquainted with, whether for pleasure or to enhance our essential identification abilities, to experience and discern our environment thoroughly.

Indulging the senses - A wild relationship - flowers - plants - scents

Our earliest use of scent must be that of mother and child a bond or cord of identification so powerful to survival. But nature has been so obscured by the artificial that we have lost our way, do we know the unique scent of our loved ones or does the shampoo, deodorant, fabric conditioner speak of a manufacturer rather than an individual we love and should fully know, who is unlike any other. A relationship should include scent and is an especially essential aspect to navigating a wild one.

Indulging the senses - A wild relationship - flowers - plants - scents

Mother and Child- stock image

A walk inspired this piece, it was purely accidental but started with a leaf from a walnut tree, it released a scent that fascinated me. I would describe it as deep green nutty and citrus fresh, unique and deeply pleasing, but it was just the start of the day’s walk. One that succeeded in lifting me from the melancholy mood I was in as scented note after notes were trying to say hi, why so glum.

I was delighted to stumble upon a dear fragrant friend that I am prepared to make long journeys for, just so I can bury my nose in her sweet perfume. Reminiscent of honey & almonds, meadowsweet, when at her best is heavenly and a previous post will remind you of my passion for this plant.

Indulging the senses - A wild relationship - flowers - plants - scents

Meadowsweet – Indulging The Senses

She did not come alone, for a delightful companion in her preferred wetland habitat is water mint. I can grasp why in South Africa this herb is used for depression, the freshness of its scent is alive with a life enticing clean fresh wind that blows away the mental fog and opens up the lungs to inhale deep an envigorating scent.

Indulging the senses - A wild relationship - flowers - plants - scents

Water Mint

Next up was a prickly but never the less sweet smelling soul, the creeping thistle, identification easier, because she is perfumed a gentle delicate honey scent, that had me liking her as much as the bees, like all thistles this one is deliciously edible also, look out for more on a future post.

Indulging the senses - A wild relationship - flowers - plants - scents

Creeping Thistle

Wild marjoram was in flower and instantly Italy and pasta came to mind, the thought of a rich and fragrant tomato sauce will be forever associated with this classic herb that grows abundantly wild here in South Devon. Wonderful herbs can lift the dullest of dishes with their fragrance.

And just look what was growing with the marjoram, lady’s bed straw, smelling of fresh mowed hay meadow and with a mythology long associated with female needs,  a perfumed cousin to hedge bed straw and one I would be happy to lay my head and sleep upon.

Indulging the senses - A wild relationship - flowers - plants - scents

Ladys bed Straw and Marjoram

Along my path was pineapple weed, it seems to delight in growing in well-trodden areas, next time you see it, pick one of its tiny pineapple like flowers, crush and smell the fruity pineapple, hence the name and yes it has edible uses which I hope to share with you soon.

Indulging the senses - A wild relationship - flowers - plants - scents

Pineapple weed

On the way home, a shrub in the garden of a block of flats caught my olfactory sense, the deep lemony scent of its leaves and flowers sent me home with home work, and sure enough, I had stumbled on one of the myrtle family Myrtus communis, I now brush its leaves every time I pass by for a whiff of citrus fragrance, it lifts my journey to and from work.

Indulging the senses - A wild relationship - flowers - plants - scents

Myrtus communis

Scent just one aspect of plants disclosing their unique identity it’s great to learn about the many facets nature gives us, the host of characteristics that build a picture and lead us to know them. We can hone our sense of smell to better guide us, by drinking in deep their scent, the memory will be reawakened next time you encounter it.

Smelling a fig tree before we see it, knowing nettles are nearby even in the dark. Using scent as an extra confirmation in the identification process, recognising by the scent which mushroom is not one to eat and knowing if you are watching wildlife to sit in a down wind or they will be sure to have had a wiff of you and scampered out of sight.

What scents are in your memory that evokes a person, place or event? For me, a top one is a historical favourite, lavender the scent of my mother. In amongst her belongings was this little lavender bag, made from garden lavender and stitched by me as a child at least 45 years ago, from a piece of an old nighty, with the letter M. One squeeze and the scent of our childhood garden is still vibrant and fresh.

Indulging the senses - A wild relationship - flowers - plants - scents

Old Lavender sachet

Nature has always has been a source of immense wonder to me and the more I know, the less I realise I know and the more I want to know. My pieces are simple, a sharing of the love I feel for the wild and I am sure if you have stop to read this piece it is a love you also share. Thank you for reading, come by again for another nature walk on the wild side soon,  in the meantime go out and breath in deep the scents of nature,  you can be assured that nature will know you are there, she has sensed you long before seeing you.

You may also enjoy my article A Year Foraging In The Wild Larder

For more hints and tips, come and like my Facebook page A Wild Relationship. I would also love you to share your discoveries with me. ~ Paula

All content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only.

I make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site, or found by following any link on this site.

Independent and expert advice should be sourced by anyone wanting to proceed with foraging. Consuming wild plants is done so at your own risk, I take no responsibility.

I am the legal copyright holder of all written and photographic material under the category ‘A Wild Relationship’ and the contents and photographs cannot be used to reprint or publish without my written consent.

 

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Foraging: Indulging The Senses
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Foraging: Indulging The Senses
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In today's piece, we shall explore scents enchantment, the sweet side to reawaken our connection with natures sensual notes of description that defy the written word. A multi layered world of incredible depth, scent being a facet we need to become reacquainted with, whether for pleasure or to enhance our essential identification abilities. To experience and discern our environment thoroughly.
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Healthy Tree Frog
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Paula Hermes
Paula Hermes

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