While the fruit of the Fucshia-flowered gooseberry is best left to the birds, the fruit of the golden currant, which begins blooming about a month later, is delectable and frequently used to make jams and jellies, as well as the delicious scones Rose anticipates.
Native fruits and plants provide significant food for Ordinary, as they did for the people who inhabited this land long before we Europeans first crested the Diablo Mountains and gasped in awe at the breadth and beauty of wild flowers carpeting the area from hill to vale, interrupted here and there by herds of elk and deer.
Did you know the golden hue of our hills, symbolic of California as much as the precious ore that drew so many of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers, is due to these invasive grass species? Quickly displacing plants estimated to be 200-1,000 years old, the wild oats, barley and fescues the good Fathers brought to their missions overtook extant species. California's native grasses, admirably adapted to her seasons of summer drought and winter rains, were green year round. Had we Europeans not sown our wild oats, California might be known as the emerald state.
Rose and the people of the world of Ordinary live in balance with Nature. While trade and commerce are important, the people of Ordinary follow tested protocols before introducing exotic plants or animals to their regions.
They live in communities that support the land that nourishes them, much as the pre-Europoean Ohlone did. Their small, peaceful villages dotted the Santa Clara Valley for millennia before the first European settlers arrived 225 years ago. They managed their populations, husbanded the land, and keenly understood and respected the living system of which they were a part.
In a world that is doubling its population at ever greater rates, is it possible to live as part of Nature, sharing her bounty, never abusing her largess? Dare we dream of living once again in peace among verdant hills awash with blooming wildflowers, sparkling with icy, cold streams and bubbling with bird song and the voices of children running happily in the fields?
We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.