Celebrating Mother Nature: Soil, Seed, Water, Light

High on the list of gifts that retirement has given me is that I have the time to read as long as I want to first thing in the morning. I love to start each day with a book that touches my soul and causes me to reflect on the simple riches in our lives.

This morning I read another chapter of Kayann Short’s “A Bushel’s Worth,” an ecobiography I am cherishing more with each new chapter. She and her husband brought to their relationship a mutual love for the land from varied earlier experiences. Presently they live on a century farm, Stonebridge, which had been operated by many different owners through the years and who left behind clear evidence of their respect and good stewardship of the land. The book is a lovely celebration of our connection to soil, to past traditions, to a community working together on a farm for a healthy, common cause that benefits all, to sharing each season of Mother Nature’s bounty, some years in abundance and other years less so.

I looked up from the book, my heart filled with the richness of Short’s writing and looked over at my bay window. My eyes fastened on the pot with three fragile new seedlings and I remembered the day I found those seeds.

Last winter, I spent some time in Florida with my youngest daughter, Susan. There, one day we went for a lovely walk in the area where she lives, Lake Worth. Later in the day, after she’d gone to work, I walked again by myself and spent time looking particularly at the varied sizes and types of palms. I was sitting near a small lake as I mindfully emptied my head of unimportant thoughts and focused on the palms swaying gently near me, then waited quietly as new words and thoughts entered.

Returning to Susan’s apartment, I strolled on a road divided by a line of palms. Beneath one tree lay an abundance of palm seeds, nuggets about the size of a pecan. They appeared weathered and bruised and I wondered if they’d regenerate as I slipped three into my pocket, hoping at least one would grow into a palm for inside my home.

Palm Tree Seedlings

Palm Tree Seedlings

A few weeks ago, I found the forgotten seeds and planted them in a triangle pattern in a small pot.This morning I smiled yet again as I looked at the three tiny palms that have sprouted. If possible, my heart swelled even further from the earlier riches of my reading, into awe. How wealthy are those who, in their individual ways, treasure Mother Nature’s simple riches. We accept her precious gifts of seed, soil, water, and light and can, with a little care, transform them into yet another generation of new life.

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About Mary Jo Doig

At the turn of the millennium, I arrived at a cross-road that brought me a splendid, if unforeseen place, almost as if I were a traveler on Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled. I was single again, my three children were grown and building their lives, I'd experienced a health issue and was working on an improved lifestyle. I also ached to do two other things: (1) change my long human services career in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains, where winter seemed to be at least seven months out of every year, and (2) move to a warmer place in the universe. My decision: did I want to continue on the path I'd been following pretty much all my life, or could I gather my then-fragile courage and start life brand new somewhere else? These were scary thoughts for a single woman in her late 50s. Five hundred miles away, though, I fell in love with a new mountain range, Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, where I knew not a soul except my daughter who was attending college in the Shenandoah Valley, and I moved. I rented a tiny cabin on a mountain in the woods and lived there in solitude for two years, working in a new career by day and, when home, communing with the incredible natural beauty that surrounded me. There I also began to write my life stories, which were aching for release. I joined the Story Circle Network in early 2001, a rich place in cyberspace for women life writers, where I strengthened my written voice and began sharing my stories. I grew there in so many ways and today I'm a long-time editor for the "True Words from Real Women" section of the quarterly Journal, as well as a reader and reviewer of women's memoirs for the SCN Book Review site, another unique place in cyberspace. Then, next year, I’ll again be honored to be program chair for our Stories from the Heart national conference in Austin, TX. I have so many loves: first, my three children: my son, Chip and daughter, Polly, both in Virginia; and my youngest daughter, Susan, in Florida, and also dear family and friends. I must also include my cats Hilary (20) and Button (5). Sometimes I foster cats and kittens for the Humane Society, but Button prefers me not to. My hobbies include reading, writing, editing, cooking, gardening, quilting, knitting, biking, and simply being with the profound beauty of the mountains that embrace my small two acres in the Blue Ridge. The life stories I began writing in 2001 have grown deeper with time, re-writes, and personal growth. Now, all these years later, I believe I've sliced through the layers to reach the heart of my story, and am presently working on the final revision of my memoir, Stitching a Patchwork Life.
This entry was posted in A Wonderful Book, Family, Gratitude, Mother Nature, Mystery, Simplicity. Bookmark the permalink.

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