Tim Drake, September 14, 2015

This past Fall a group of home school learners joined a session called “Season of the Gatherers.” Our goal was to gather as much wild food as possible for the coming cold season, to eat and to practice food preservation.

We began with seemingly good success, acorns and hickory nuts were all around us in abundance. We were elated with the bounty of the forest until we realized that 90% of the nuts we gathered were “bad nuts”. They looked good on the outside but inside were either rotten or had never ripened. We continued to scour the forest and quite accidentally found a hollow log that was chock full of hickory nuts.

To our astonishment, they were all good. Every single one! We asked the questions we always ask:

What’s happening here? And what is this telling me?

The students pointed out that obviously, some animal had gathered these

nuts and stored them away just as we were trying to do. The fact that they were all good pointed to a discriminatory skill developed far beyond our own. We gave thanks for the knowledge we learned in that experience and for the handfuls of nuts that we took from that cache. Knowing that this was an animal’s winter food source, we came back with black walnuts gathered from another forest area and called it a good trade.