When you just need some nature…

Day 65 of 365

All this week, I have been taking our son to a small town on the coast of Maine for music camp. The little town is beautiful and so very coastal Maine. There are gift shops and little outdoor restaurants and a fantastic bakery. But it’s very busy because, of course, it’s peak tourist season here in Maine, and there’s a lot of traffic.

I decided this morning that, one way or another, I was walking down the road until I found some nature. I couldn’t believe how much I missed nature after just three days away from home.

So I started walking, and I walked and walked and walked. Every time I thought I found a spot on the water, I would see a “private property” sign. Sigh. This is the one thing I think I love least about Maine–the coast is very much owned by the very much wealthy. I lived in Oregon for six years, and I was spoiled by the coast there. It’s all public land. You can just walk up to the water any place you like.

But I learned a long time ago that, if you just keep looking, you can find a little bit of public land here in Maine. I made it about a mile and half when I saw it–a park with loads of beautiful flowers and a view of the water! There were flowers and butterflies everywhere. It was magnificent.

Then, I saw the water. I made my way to a bench overlooking the water, took my shoes off, put my feet in the grass, and just soaked it all in. I love going barefoot in the grass. I have such dirty feet all summer because I just have to walk around and have my feet touching the Earth.

I read that there is something to do this, that there really is some benefit to people, maybe some more than others, to connect directly to the Earth like that. I am definitely an empath and have no doubt that I am one of those people who needs feet on the Earth. I swear, the grass on my feet while I sat and looked out at the water felt like little bit of heaven.

I love Maine in the summer. It makes you work a little bit sometimes, but my goodness, it’s so worth it.

The Generosity of the Strawberry Plant

Day 45 of 365

I have loved berries for as long as I can remember. I suppose everyone would say that, but berries to me are nostalgia and comfort and joy and beauty. Maybe everyone feels that way about berries?

For me, there’s something extra special about strawberries. Since I was little, they have forever been my favorite food in the world. My great grandmother had a strawberry patch–and she made jam and let me pick berries–and my world was always better at her house. Strawberry ice cream is my favorite ice cream. If I was really lucky, I would get a strawberry shortcake on my birthday. When I was 8 and then 9, I really wanted one of those Strawberry Shortcake dolls. Today, I am convinced I need a farm dress in strawberry print. There must be pockets, of course.

When Ron built raised beds for me to plant strawberries in, I did my research to find a great local berry. Ron was generous with the chicken compost, and our strawberry plants seem very happy in their beds. This year, however, they have outdone themselves. I was a little worried when I saw so many flowers pop up in the spring. I worried about berries being too small. I should not have worried. The berries are perfection. I mean, imagine the perfect strawberry–perfect in size, shape, texture, taste, and color–and that’s what our beds are full of this year. It feels like a miracle.

In fact, today, while picking strawberries for our farm shares, I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of these berries and my hopefulness at sharing them with others that I got a little teary.

Yesterday, we had some friends out to our little farmstead, and they have small children, two girls, who are very little and just fantastic. I think the oldest is about three years old. They came out to meet the baby chicks and pick strawberries. And I have to tell you that the the oldest is a person after my own heart. She seemed to love the chickens, and she really loves strawberries.

I told her she could eat the berries as she picked, as they are organic. We never spray anything, of course. I told her to just watch out for squirrel bites and to not eat those. She was definitely on the lookout for squirrel bites after that. Once she quit worrying about squirrel bites, that kiddo dove into those strawberries, and it made me so happy that I thought my heart was going to burst from the joy of it. I mean, what’s better than a kiddo eating organic strawberries with joyous gusto?

I ate some too. I think we all ate some. The sun was shining, the breeze was cool, and the strawberries were–as you know–perfect. We picked so many berries that I thought surely we had made a dent in them, but today, when Ron and I went outside to pick for the farm shares, it was like the strawberries decided to be extra generous from all of that joy yesterday. I am certain, just absolutely certain, that the strawberries felt all of our gratefulness yesterday. They must have.

And I’m fairly certain the strawberries decided to be extra generous in return.