A Foraging We Go

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week two and the creative force has produced the Common Blackbird to build on the lessons that the Superb Blue Wren initiated.  

The dictionary describes foraging as a “search for food or provisions.”

Essentially, foraging is the purest and simplest of instincts. The natural reaction to hunger is to seek out food, and before the 24-hour convenience of neatly-arranged supermarket aisles, we scoured the countryside for something, anything, that would sustain us.

Not so many years ago, if you left the house with a wicker basket to harvest food, most people would snigger and point you towards the nearest supermarket. Mushrooming? Heaven forbids; the fungi world was fraught with danger. However, enter celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver! They have enlightened us about the edible delights that can be found on our doorsteps. Now, any chef worth his or her Michelin salt is foraging or sourcing wild food that sings with natural, integral flavours.

♠ Watch the common blackbird foraging! What are twenty things you observe about the art of foraging?

You might head out with a basket and forage for food or, like me, you might adapt the definition of foraging. For my purposes foraging is the search for food or provisions which will feed my creative spirit! I let my fingers do the walking and under the tutorage of the sharp-eyed blackbird, seek out creative stimuli that will further my creative endeavours. Alternatively, I go to charity stores, second-hand collectable places, libraries, bookshops etc and just see what turns up.

After stumbling upon the Curious Origins of Sing a Song of Sixpence  I was intrigued by where examining a simple nursery rhyme might take me. As the writer of this article says, delving into peoples attempts to find meaning in what was probably a jaunty ditty to amuse children, has been a voyage of learning  in so many ways. How else would we learn about the notorious life of Edward Teach, the medieval splendours of entremet, the lacklustre poet laureate Henry Pye and the larger than life shenanigans of Henry the VIII.

Random Acts of Foraging

The Irish Blackbird, Turdus merula, is a common, resident bird; the males are solid black with a bright orange beak, and the females tend to be brownish in colour (Irish Birds). They are well-known for their abilities as beautiful songsters, and it is because of this trait that they appear often in the literature. ”The ‘Three Birds of Rhiannon’ [a Celtic goddess and queen] were said to have the ability to sing the dead to life, and the living into a sleep of death”, and these birds were also the “harbingers of the Otherworld, and their singing at Harlech in the tale of Branwen suspends earthly time”.  Considering their talents with a song, it comes as no surprise that the Blackbird is generally seen in the role.  In addition, the blackbird’s importance is consistently seen in the native set of symbols as being one of the “Oldest Animals”, in other words, an animal that has been around since the beginning of time, and has learned much about how the world works. Source

Blackbird Fact Sheet

The Story of the White Blackbird  The White Blackbird” is a charming satire on the literary life of Alfred de Musset’s time, exposing not merely the ease with which popular taste is imposed upon and some current types of literary humbugs, but also the universal tendency to confound mere eccentricity with genius.

Three Little Birds” is a song by Bob Marley and the Wailers. It is the fourth track on side two of their 1977 album Exodus and was released as a single in 1980. The song reached the Top 20 in the UK, peaking at number 17. It is one of Bob Marley’s most popular songs.

This happy, upbeat tune tells the tale of three birds who helped remind Bob Marley that “every little thing is gonna be all right.”  Marley died on 11 May 1981 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami (now University of Miami Hospital), aged 36. The spread of melanoma to his lungs and brain caused his death. His final words to his son Ziggy were “Money can’t buy life.” In his lifetime he certainly spread his wings and flew! He leaves a rich legacy

♠ What does Blackbird help you find! Where does the treasure take you? Feel free to gloat and tell us about any treasure that you find under a leaf!

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