March 6, 2013

Urban Foragers and a Nighttime Raid

It's 10 am and the predicted Snowquester storm has made his/her appearance with a flurry of flakes. It actually looks sort of fake, as if someone was standing on the rooftop shaking torn bits of paper down past our windows in some sort of theatrical stunt. Pretty, but not quite real. 

But it wasn't like that last night. 

After dinner,we bundled up, collected flashlights, tracked down one highly desirable headlamp, and headed out the door for a little night time foraging. The foraging isn't new. We've been perfecting it over the course of the past couple of months. But this idea of a nighttime raid was new and thrilling and born of the realization that if the predicted snowstorm really did hit, we were not quite prepared. We had plenty of food, water, batteries, and candles, but we were dangerously low on our supply of: kindling. That's right, we have become urban connoisseurs in search of good kindling.

Ok, so it probably sounds lame to be this excited and clandestine about kindling, but it's true: we are a bit obsessed. I have turned into the strange woman who hovers on the edge of the playground while filling a bag with twigs. The kids have become masters at sighting pine cones. Adam beams with pride when the fireplace is alive with leaping flames. We have embraced the truth that a good fire is fueled by good kindling.

Unfortunately, our tiny semi-urban yard doesn't produce the good stuff. Which brings us back to last night's raid. The park was a surprisingly pleasant place at night. After filling the trunk with the bounty from our gathering expedition, Adam and I sat on a bench watching the kids dominate the playground equipment that is usually full of kids during the daytime hours. The white spots of the headlamp and the flashlight punctuated the darkness, but eventually they were all turned off as our eyes adjusted to the blackness. And that's when the reality of being in a fairly urban setting became evident. It wasn't really that dark. The sky was a strange mauve from the city lights, the night time clouds were moving slowly in advance of the approaching storm, the windows of the neighboring houses flickered like tv sets tuned to different scenes of families eating dinner and in the middle of it all, we went undetected. 

2 comments:

Sara Bischoff said...

I love this post! I have become a forager of edible weeds lately
. I realized I might have a problem when I took a walk at Ft. Ward Park the other day and couldn't stop thinking about whether or not I could get away with sneaking a bag into the park and harvesting nettles out of the drainage ditch. Making a nighttime raid didn't cross my mind at the time, but now my mental gears are spinning!

likeschocolate said...

Sounds kind of fun, but very cold at the same time; especially, if your temps were anything like ours. We got the sprinkle flakes this morning. We kept hoping for a good stick, but no such luck.