Saturday, March 9, 2013

Healing the World through Natural Remedies and Cooperation

"Cafe Costa Rica" 20 x 20 acrylic on canvas
I’m having a cup of chamomile tea while I work. It’s supposed to be good for your immune system. I’m staying away from caffeine as I’m having digestive problems. I added a sprinkle of ginger to cut the sweetness of the flowery tea. Ginger is another digestive wonder. How do I know? I studied herbs and medicinal flowers using my favorite Public Library.

Before manufacturers got in the business of making drugs, people always used natural remedies in healing. I’ve used some of them myself: garlic for earaches and croup, dill seed tea for diarrhea and stomach ache, etc. Depending on how costly medicines and care becomes in the future, we may all need to learn about the natural healing properties of plants and seeds.

"Work-in-Progress" of Cafe Costa Rica
In the sixties, people were flocking to communes to share in "the love" and in the expenses like housing and food. Some of these groups were successful, and some of them ended up in bickering and violence.

Some people were attracted to the communes for a “free ride.” When they discovered they had to pull their fair share, bitter complaints and disagreements boiled to the surface.

Some of these “swarms” were brought together under the guise of religion, but instead of being anchored in truth, they were nothing more than mind control cults that preyed on the gullible.

I read about some of the early communes. I myself had longed to go to Alaska, the last frontier. Some of my favorite books tracked the early exploration and settlement of this spectacular land. The early settlers learned much from their Eskimo and Native American counterparts who shared their methods of gathering and storing food.

Additional knowledge was learned through experience and through bouts of hunger and starvation. Communes learned quickly that If you didn’t catch it, kill it or store it – you didn’t eat. People worked together building cabins, and bartering for food and game. 

An Indian mother showed a new resident how to put moss on her baby’s bottom to soak up the urine. Moss’s softness and drawing properties kept the infant’s skin smooth and free from chafing and rash.

Foods that the newcomers had never eaten were cultivated and harvested under the guidance of the natives. Using Alaska’s almost limitless supply of plant foods, fish and game made survivors out of them. A tough, hardy people, they faced unknown terror and starvation in order to carve out a new life in this wild frontier.

(Inspiration for the following painting: "Americana")
Could you survive if all the grocery stores were suddenly empty? What would happen if supplies were interrupted by terrorists or traitors? Would you know how to forage for food; what to eat and what not to eat in the wilds of your own back yard? If money was scarce and food lines were long, would you know how to plant a garden and feed your family or yourself?

Thanks to my parents and grandparents, I learned how to sow and to reap. Following in my mother’s footsteps, I canned tomatoes, green beans, applesauce, peaches and pears. When the produce was available, we pickled beets and cucumbers; cherries, apricots and raspberries. We made jams and jellies to spread on our homemade bread through the winter.

"Americana" mixed media on canvas
My father, a fly fisherman, caught fresh trout: rainbow and German brown that my mother froze for the winter months. We always had food on our table even when times were lean. 

If you are incapable of living in a world without electricity or technology, talk to someone who is. Prepare yourself, if necessary, for an uncertain future.