As a kid I dreaded yard work. I cursed these trees for dropping so many branches every year. I grumbled about having such a big yard to cleanup. I just wanted to lie in the hammock and read my Babysitters Club books.
But this year, I couldn’t wait to get outside for spring cleanup. I love our snowy winters but when the air starts to carry whispers of life, I get excited for spring. These same trees I have grown alongside I now view with affection. They’re old friends. They held me up when I climbed them. They give the birds a place to rest and nest. They sway in the wind, timelessly teaching me how to bend and not break. Teaching me that life’s seasons are healthy, that spring always follows winter - the hard times don’t last forever and growth once more resumes. They give shade on the hot summer days to come. They give me a place to escape in joy or sorrow. They literally breathe life into my lungs.
As I gain more confidence on my once broken foot, and huff and puff trying to rebuild my energy levels after months of resting and healing, they quietly stand by, limbs outstretched above me, my old friends.
I will not squander this year being sad that I’m not in Scotland. I’m thankful for the contract I accepted that let’s me save money for my 2022 travels (and ohh boy do I have something epic planned!) while working from home. I can’t wait to eat food from the land, rescue bumble bees, walk in the woods, smell the intoxicating smell of lilacs outside my window, and watch wistfully for a glimpse of moose and bears in the woods.
I am the 8th generation of my family to live on this hill. They were cattle and sheep farmers, beekeepers, apple sellers, soldiers, lumbermen, gingerbread makers...they remade themselves again and again. Two of them, Revolutionary War soldiers, lie buried in a cemetery outside my bedroom window.
I am humbled to think of all those people who worked this land before me. The stories of their resilience shaped me, and it’s an honor and privilege to follow in their footsteps. And this year I’m also learning more about the indigenous tribes who once called these lands their home, because their legacy should be celebrated and their loss remembered. My Mom taught me about them in school (I was homeschooled) but it was so long ago. I need to revive that important knowledge.
This photo is of me in my grandmothers dress a few years ago, looking thrilled to realize it fit me. She passed away a few years ago and there so much I didn’t ask her. I don’t want to feel that same sadness with my parents, or at least less of it. A lot of people wish they could spend time with their parents again, ask them more questions, gain more of their wisdom.
I have that chance to help my Dad when he needs someone to raise him up in the forklift to reach branches with his chainsaw. To drive him to the mechanic when the truck is fixed. Walk the stone walls and listen to him muse about how his ancestors put those stones there. Watch him with admiration as he problem solves everything from fixing the dishwasher to safely cutting down a partially fallen tree. Learn from his hard working, never complaining attitude.
I have the opportunity to can vegetables with my mom this summer. Go blueberry picking with her. Admire her green thumb, her knowledge of plants and gardening. Sit quietly and read together. Cook with her, do puzzles with her. Learn from her patient, encouraging attitude.
I started life with parents who showed me what neglect and abuse are like. When I was 8 I got new parents who have shown me what love, generosity and nurturing are like. I’m so thankful that at 38 (soon to be 39!) my parents are still around after I gained the wisdom to see that despite our differences, we have a lot of love and that’s what matters.
Well, this was just meant to be a springtime post but as always, my thoughts wandered down rabbit trails Here’s a few pictures from around the yard today, there’s always a chance we might get walloped by a late snowstorm but soon things will start turning green!
Happy Spring to you all, hug a tree if you can!
Thanks for reading!