Living off the Land. A right or a privilege?

28 Mar

Another memory to share with you, out of which to serve the higher good.

Toheroa season was  an annual highlight – until, of course, it became so popular that the succulent treat was threatening to abandon the planet.

Until then the farming families would sort out a day when weather and tides suited, load up their vehicles  (we would sit on an old car seat on the back ofthe land rover – oh my, OSH, what you would say today!) and head off to Dargaville to camp for the day at the high tide mark on the wild west coast beach.

You were allowed to take a certain amount of the shellfish home but as well as that you could eat as many as you liked on the beach. We would build a fire to boil a billy of water in which to open them and set up a hand mincer so fritters could be fried.

What enjoyment there was to be had – rolling down the sand dunes, racing through the tussock grass, getting bowled by sweepers while digging in the sand at the edge of low tide  and then eating fritters or steamed Toheroa sandwiched between slabs of soft white bread and dripping with golden butter! Such sea-splashed, sun-washed, salt-sprayed, sand-blasted, greasy, sticky, exhausted delights were we at the end of those golden days!

Yes, wonderful memories. It does not seem likely that such experiences will be available to the general populace again. If I’m really honest about it , it was probably my experience only 2 or 3 times – it all had to coordinate with tides, milking, weather and budgets.

The following article by Glenys Stage, “The Elusive Toheroa”, while written some time ago, outlines some of the adversities this delicacy has endured.

https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/the-elusive-toheroa/

It is apparent from this that the shellfish is extremely sensitive to any environmental change and has always been so, so that even in prehistoric times, the population underwent huge fluctuations. Does this mean we should ignore the call to restrict access?

I think not. At no time has the environmental change that the toheroa endures been so huge as in recent history. Never before have they had less time to adapt to continuing pressure.

The restrictions must help. The question is whether or not we think it is important. We of older generations desire to share our more delightful experiences with the younger – but perhaps it must be our stories which provide this, rather than the actual experience, since we have taken without giving back.

We have lost many species to the pressures of increased population and business exploitation of resources. The planet and the entities which live with it will always strive to achieve balance and nature will always succeed. The energies held in living organisms – including us – will be utilised to this purpose. If we are not aware of this law and do not consciously work with it to maintain balance, it will be attained to our detriment and to the detriment of animal and plant species.

If we believe all is connected, then we understand that we can influence this balance and that we have choices. Our interaction with nature triggers effects which can snowball and cause reactions beyond our understanding in the longer term. The highest good will always be served when we love and respect nature, our planet and each other equally. Would anyone sacrifice their loved ones for  material gain? Unfortunately they can and do. They remove choice from their existence and they do it in the absence of love.

In the ‘old days’ a smaller population lived in balance where nature was revered and resources preserved for future generations. But in more modern times, we have ignored the needs of our oneness, separating ourselves from all of it. Living off the land has been something we have interpreted as the right to exploit it rather than as a privileged relationship of give and take. The give part has been forgotten.

To my mind, anything we can do to restore that paradigm, adapting and adjusting with love our relationship, is positive. This includes supporting efforts to cut down on environmental pollution, discontinuing exploitation of natural resources and promoting the use of natural and balanced farming methods.

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