The term ‘mala’ is a Sanskrit word for “meditation garland," and is a string of beads used to count a mantra (Sanskrit prayer) 108 times. Traditionally, mala beads were strung with rudraksha berries native to India. However here in Northern California, we work with the wild madrone trees that fruit beautiful berries in the early fall. One of our favorite seasonal rituals is harvesting and stringing these magical berries 108 times while reciting a mantra. We dry them over a wood stove during the fall so they are ready just in time for the holiday season.