Lifes Simple Harvest
As I scamper through my busy days, I am often drawn back to a simpler time in my life, a day of forced freedom and life development when complications most always evolved into learning opportunities. I drift into those memories of my early adulthood that define the person that I have become today...
I left a traditional Italian family in New Jersey to attend college in Northern Maine and follow my wandering spirit to a place completely foreign to me, but I embraced it all with the enthusiasm of a wide-eyed child. It was a stark new reality that I faced, with a sense of impending adventure and excitement.
It was my homesteading experience that taught me the satisfaction of a simple life. The elemental beauty in the simplest, most basic of things that were so often overlooked. My cabin was rustic. A wood stove kept it cozy in the northern weather and the smell of the fire elicited a warmth that permeated my soul. I remember bringing fresh vegetables home from the market and washing them in a pump sink. I showered between classes at school. It wasn’t always easy, but everything had a basic sense of fulfillment.
Living this life was instrumental in the development of my creative art. I didn’t have money for supplies, so I learned to design mixed media pieces from nature’s bounty: deer moss, princess pine, lace, beads and old barn board. We boiled beets and tea for colorful dyes, and most of my art was given from the earth. I learned how to gather and that life is about the harvest. I saw usefulness in almost everything, and felt the freedom to create without restriction.
The strongest relationships that wound through my life experiences and taught me character defining skills were formed then. The owner of the cabin I rented was a music instructor and we developed a solid friendship during the time I was there. I still maintain contact with Joanne, the woman who rented my cabin to me and another close friend. Both are organic homesteaders who still embrace a simple life in Maine. We are penpals to this day, even in this technological era of the internet. I met my husband in Maine and began the foundation of my new family life.
… Lewy worked in the woods, lumber jack, carpenter and farm hand. His father worked for great northern lumber company based near the Allgash wilderness in northern Maine . He was a forman.
Lewy’s was a potato farmer by trade and he and his family introduced me to many new experiences.
I remember my amazement at the discovery that children were let out of school for the potato harvest. After the harvest, there were so many potatoes laying on the ground that people would just wander through the fields to gather what remained. I so enjoyed being a part of all of that.
Lewy’s family had a very large garden, their entire family was involved in the canning and preserving of food ( meats and vegitables ) . His father taught him and his brother how to hunt, Bear, deer,pheasant, turkey and I am sure a few more, he also took them fishing.
We camped and canoed in the great Allagash wilderness .
Lewy taught me how to fishing for trout and I developed a deep love of the outdoors, the smell of the leaves, and the reflection of the sun on the water.
Often, we would travel to Canada for maple syrup season. It is a tradition there to pour the syrup into the snow and roll it onto popsicle sticks. Lewy and I have delighted in extending that tradition to our own children, and maybe someday, their children as well. So it brings forth the circle of life.
I am close approaching my life’s harvest. I have flowered and brought forth a new generation. I tended their souls and weeded their gardens. My children’s lives are now their own, as they reach into their time of newly found freedom. I watch them spread their wings and learn their own way, and now I anticipate their discoveries with the excitement of a wide eyed child.
I move closer toward my retirement every day. It will be the end of a bountiful season, but a time when I will once again be able to explore the freedom that I had in Maine. A freedom to appreciate small blessings with ease, experience fully my gifts and talents, and share my insights with a younger generation still learning their way. I will continue my mission “to infuse the world with faith, hope, and love” on a deeper level.
Last week, I harvested fifty Hydrangea heads for a wedding I have planned. I will probably harvest one hundred fifty more this week. My vision for their use is beautiful, as their wedding day must be. Soon I will can ginger carrots and jalapenos for my family, a satisfyingly simple way to provide nutrition and love to the people who wove the intricate patterns in my life.