Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Things I saw in the woods today, part 14

A deer standing perfectly still as the hound and I walked past him.

Photo copyright SvD.

Ahhhh....the stinging nettle. That piercing, painful sensation like a large needle entering the flesh is not easily forgotten; long after we have run from the nettle the sensation remains for hours, sometimes days. We should thank the Romans for bringing nettles to the UK (like walnuts, bay leaves and thyme, to name a few others). The Romans favoured being thrashed with nettles to increase their circulation in our dour climate. The issue of the pain we feel when touching nettles is quite profound: as the French philosopher  Malebranche pondered: if we were not aware of our hand in the flame, would we still feel pain?  I can only answer this one way: my friend, Sabine and I once went foraging for nettles to make soup. We began picking the nettles and felt a lot of pain the first few times. After that we just got on with it and ignored the pain. Does that answer the question? The soup by the way, was delicious.

Photo copyright SvD.

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