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You can enter the forest, or simply stroll among trees. Is not the same.
It is not the same to enjoy gulps of fresh air, than to appreciate that oxygen is the breath the leaves insufflate into you, for example.
To really enter the forest, you must return to a sensibility that is sleeping forgotten.
Luckily there are those who do not forget or abandon something as essential as understanding themselves as part of the forest. They are true inhabitants.
Perhaps their footsteps will help you enter the forest.
Let me introduce you one of those types of people that we all know, but that we truly discover after a while. Because, although they carry deep-rooted and ancient wisdom, they have no interest in showing off: they are very busy with what is important in life, simply enjoying themselves, living every second as the best, without mythologizing past or future, without boasting about the successes, or victimize even if life has been hard.
As with a pure and authentic wildflower (whose splendor is only appreciated by the most attentive), we will have to learn to observe it without prejudice in order to understand the language of its beauty.
This is Irina, a woman with whom you are never indifferent. She does not happen in a predictable way, but she takes you by surprise and leaves you suspended from the fresh reality of her every time she lets you see any of her petals …
A regular in Marbella and its endless parties, Irina is like the imperturbable orchid, which, surviving the extravagant, is capable of giving the most sincere and fresh of smiles.
And so, without frills, one day, not long ago, she again caught me by surprise, offering me the privilege of witnessing her footsteps as a true forest inhabitant.
I don’t remember where the conversation came from, but Irina began to explain, in such a way, how to make infusions with forest plants, that, any notion that I might have about teas and herbs, was reduced to the crudest and saddest way of boiling water and throwing anything inside, without meaning or object. And it was not because of her describing any kind of elaborate ritual, but because of the exquisite sensitivity she put into doing so.
To begin with, her passion and dedication in this regard: every year she asks her mother, according to the appropriate date for each plant, to go to the forest to collect it so that, at the right time, she can put them to dry, so that she can take them away, in one of his trips, to Moscow.
Later, Irina, brings them separated, species by species, in large jars, and not one or two, but a good number of them.
Only this is, already, more than remarkable: an ancient heritage in the form of knowledge of herbs and plants that has been maintained over many generations. And even more outstanding, transmitted through practice and experience.
But this was not the most extraordinary thing. Neither was the knowledge of properties or applications, nor the infusion technique. The most extraordinary thing was in her way of approaching the choice of plants for the infusion.
Irina, who infusions regularly, chooses the plant, or mixture of plants, not based on a recipe book of benefits, nor for the pleasure of its taste in the ingestion.
Irina chooses her infusion instinctively.
She simply opens the jar, smells the plant at will, and depending on whether she likes her scent or not, she chooses the plant, or not. This is the way in which Irina has observed that the infusion makes its effects better. As if the smell was conditioned by the mental or physical state. As if the body needs or deficiencies determined the appetite for one or another smell and, ultimately, for one or another plant, for one or another of its properties.
Orthodox or not, I find this way of determining the herbs in an infusion simply exquisite.
Beyond all this, Irina explained to us that there is a great difference between the forests of southern Spain and the forests around Moscow, where there is a very wide range of plants, different for each season, so that each season has its odors, and therefore each infusion evokes one moment or another of the year, with all its associated memories and stimuli.
According to her, only by tasting her infusions could we come to understand this a little better.
If we consider that the forests around Moscow are part of the Taiga, it all makes sense. The Taiga (as I explain in the post Taiga. The largest forest on the planet) “… is the largest extension of forests in the territory of Russia. Primordial forests that preserve the memory of the times when humanity began, while the wildlife of the taiga attracts admiration for its richness. “
I think my enthusiasm and admiration for this forest dweller, Irina, is now understood.
She promised to make us one of his infusions one day. I hope she knows that, without knowing the day, I have already marked it on the calendar of unavoidable, and that I hope that day will come soon.
And also, if she makes the infusion in a samovar, it will be a sublime experience …
Some time later…
… thank you, Irina!
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