Ramp Awakening (#RampWoke)

Submitted by: Matt Cunningham

Growing up in the area, I’ve culled a few favorite paths in the dunes, and I’ve stuck to them. Being from here led me to an unconscious complacency despite an outward enthusiasm.

Ironically, I was awakened on a day many celebrate as Easter. Having attended parochial schools, I have Catholicism stitched into the fabric of my thoughts—and apparently it’s made me a glutton for punishment.

Sunday morning, I endured a two-hour yoga class that I’d hoped would be relaxing. Instead, my inflexible limbs and body underwent borderline torture. I felt the essence of my mortality.

Released from class, my friend Sarah Weaver suggested we meet in Beverly Shores at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Though Sarah’s only been here a handful of years, her knowledge flows with rich insights and her curiosity is fun to watch unfold.

She’d often see plants that she didn’t recognize under the canopies we sauntered.

“What are you?”  She’d ask lightly as she stopped to peer closer.

I expect many foodies and foragers have taken notice of the ramps, wild onions, which peak for a few weeks in spring. Sarah recognized them immediately.

The seasonal delicacy is a source of intense interest for foodies and foragers. The interest in these spicy, garlicky plants has sometimes led to over-harvesting, and it’s certainly not encouraged in our parks.

For me, the allure of these plants is that they represent a historic novelty that I’d overlooked.

There’s a myriad of ways to break our complacency in this wonderland where we work and play. Keep reading Dig the Dunes for ideas, and, most importantly, get out there and explore.

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