I really can't put into words how it feels to make (or grow, or nurture, or even just do) something practically useful. For me, it started when I was a kid with some marigold seeds that arrived in the mail at my house when I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9. They were from a charitable organization, and I took it upon myself to plant them. And would you believe that they actually grew? I couldn't believe it. (I'm sure that my parents probably watered them more than once as they sat on the windowsill when I forgot.) The next summer, my Dad let me choose a few of whatever plants I wanted at the Dayton Fruit and Vegetable garden centre. I chose red salvia, which I planted next to our front step. I enjoyed them all summer and felt so proud every time I looked at them. I was around the same age when I decided to wallpaper my bedroom with a roll that we had; I put it up horizontally starting in the middle of the wall and of course ran out, leaving swaths of bare wall and a generally unpleasant scene. (I'm guessing that I probably didn't ask permission, either.)
Side note: This also makes me realize the importance of giving our boys the materials and space to create and do the things they're interested in. I remember that freedom to choose whatever I wanted so very vividly and it has surely affected the rest of my life in a thousand unknown ways - it was an invaluable gift that Dad gave me just by letting me choose the plants I wanted. (I made him a lemon meringue pie for his birthday last weekend.)
Gardening, soapmaking, kombucha, baking, cooking, tending chickens, beekeeping - people ask me how I have the time. This is the stuff I LOVE to do. We make time for the things that we love. And if we don't, we suffer. Making/growing/nurturing/doing makes me feel purposeful, productive, curious, insignificant (in the very best way), industrious, independent, interdependent, self-sufficient, humbled (over and over again), intelligent, foolish, bewildered, awed, and filled with gratitude. The seemingly simple act of planting a single seed and nurturing it as it grows into something that I can eat and feed to people I love brings all of those about a million times over. You take this tiny little speck, give it the right conditions, and it reproduces a thousand times over! You can save the seeds to repeat the process the next season, and you can eat the results, which give your body energy and life! It's AMAZING! Collecting eggs from the hens and cleaning the coop (my favourite solitary time, no joke), watching the bees, snipping some chives to go in with the breakfast eggs or pinching some bergamot leaves for summer tea - it is indescribably wonderful. It connects me to so much that is beyond myself and my control. Oh, Mother Nature! You're all kinds of wonderful.
Things that I've been enjoying lately:
Sow, Grow Repeat. I have been dreaming of the upcoming gardening season, especially along with a few really lovely and mild days that we've had recently. Alys Fowler is just so lovely. Watching her Edible Garden series is one of those things (like 90's Martha Stewart Living) that takes me immediately to my happy place.
On Being. It's a new-to-me podcast, and I have a lot to catch up on! It reminds me a bit of the CBC show Tapestry and the host Krista Tippett is just lovely. This episode is one that I've already listened to twice, and I saved it for at least a few more listens. And I just heard this one yesterday for the first time, and I have some serious thinking and re-listening to do. Her ideas about sustainability vs reciprocity are fascinating, and it's her work that inspired The Signature of All Things. (Which is why I included the moss picture.) Happy weekend!