Thursday, July 26, 2012

Barefoot Lessons

Four days have passed since I came back from New York, walking around barefoot and dancing to the beat of drums. I miss the late nights under the stars, watching the Scorpius constellation hide behind the trees as I walked the candlelit labyrinth. A lot has come from that trip, a lot of change, the obviously good and the most certainly hard. 

Brushwood Folklore Center is a place without static and distraction. Once your bare feet touch the soft grass and feel the dirt roads, truth comes to you in waves. From these realizations, I regained the tribe I felt I had lost, recovered my sense of self I thought would never come back, and I have never felt so sure of anything in my life. I struggled with accepting why I felt so secure and confident on land eight hours from northern Virginia and not at the place where air conditioning, artificial light, and refrigeration was in great supply. And for some reason, after realizing what was holding me back, everything started falling into place within the hour. To quote JFK:
“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognize the opportunity.”

This saying is used in a few of my conflict resolution classes, and it has taken me up until this point to understand what it really meant. I get it. I finally get it.

Along with all the hard bittersweet lessons coming from camping, I learned a lot of wonderful sweet ones, such as:

Amish sausage is AMAZING.
The person behind Magpie Mead is as deep (and sweet) as his product.
  • Tequila with kumquats and mixed with sea salt are two great combinations.
  • Helping a hummingbird leave the confines of a blue tarp with an umbrella? Priceless.
  • Community is everything and everywhere.
  • Humanity and altruism exists. Really.
  • Public speaking at the grassroots level (in the name of the conflict analysis and resolution discipline) is as rewarding as it is inspiring.
  • There may be something to the five elements of Chinese medicine relating to food.
  • Walking around (i.e., not being bored) + eating less + eating smaller portions = a happy Morri.
  • I like the aspect of walking everywhere.
  • I could live on land with indoor-outdoor facilities that has distance in between.
  • Camping gluten-free is not as hard as you think it is. 

So here I am, my sunburn fading and freckles forming by the day, and I cannot wait until next year for another week of “pretty people” and family fun. As I said, it really isn’t so difficult camping with food allergies (in addition to mine, we also had lactose intolerance, allergies to mesquite, mango, mushrooms, green bell pepper, and black pepper). I was put in charge of making sure I had food for the week, so I brought with me:
  • Homemade fruit-nut energy bars (recipe posted below)
  • Oatmeal bars (click here for the recipe)
  • Cereal and rice crackers
  • Almond butter and cream cheese
  • Apples and clementines
  • Cooked chicken, canned tuna, and smoked salmon
  • Grits
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Various veggies 
  • Mozzarella string cheese and sliced smoked Gouda
There were also the family dinners and the morning coffee, sure, but the only thing that mattered was that no one got sick and we had an amazing experience. 

I also mixed up my linear perception of time, thinking that I had my vacations in New York and Pennsylvania back-to-back. I’ll be going next Sunday, though I’m not sure if it will be for the whole week. Still, it will be exciting all the same.

For this week, I’m going to work on Meals with Morri, embrace my brother's powerful mantra “Shift or be shifted”, send out my resume to a number of community-oriented organizations, work on my application for graduate school, make sense of all these lessons that instantaneously came my way, get back into my routine of rock climbing and yoga (they’re offering it on Wednesday mornings now!), and give you a fruit-nut energy bar you swore was the filling of a Fig Newton (only healthier).

Chia Hemp Energy Bars

60 g Raw hazelnuts
60 g Raw almonds
100 g Dried Black Mission figs
75 g Prunes, pitted
48 g (4) Dates, pitted
30 g Chia seeds
30 g Hemp protein powder 

Place all of the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until it starts forming into a ball (it should be fairly combined, but clumps of individual ingredients are encouraged).
Lay the mixture in a small, square baking pan lined with parchment paper, and lay another sheet of parchment paper on top.
With another pan of the same size, press down into the mixture to flatten it out.
Continue folding and pressing until you have reached the desired size and thickness of the bar.
Remove the large “bar” from the pan and place it onto a cutting board, where you will cut it into the desired number of bars.

Makes 8 bars, or 4 – 8 servings. (Seriously, crumbling a serving over puffed rice cereal gives off the "Fig Newton" vibe. And it's amazingly filling and filled with so much good-for-you ingredients that you won't even miss the other stuff.)


  1. Your comment about camping gluten-free not being hard raised an interesting question for me: Would it be possible to survive gluten free off the land? This seem a bit more impossible to me but perhaps you know more?

    Wonderful post, as always.

    1. As far as surviving gluten-free off the land (i.e., hunting and gathering as you go...), I've never done that so I don't want to give you the wrong information. If you are backpacking and have a cooler on hand, I recommend focusing on nuts, dried fruits and veggies, and cook gf grains over an open fire.

      But that does sound like an awesome thing to try, though. And thank you for your support.