I have fond memories, as a child, of being "set free" in the wilds of our rural backyard. Here I would climb trees, watch animals, build secret hiding places, and in general, revel in nature. Today, as a father, I try my best to be attuned to my four year old daughter. I aim to go beyond simply watching, in search of deeper wheels turning in a child's mind.
One thing that I have learned for certain, is that my daughter is happiest, easiest, and most stimulated in nature. If I were to take an educated guess at what her best times this past summer were, I'd say it was during a multi day family canoe trip, where we cooked over the fire, slept in a tent, paddled, and swam around a protected wilderness area. We spent our evenings around the campfire looking at stars, and with great enthusiasm my daughter took control of poking and stoking the embers of the fire. I can clearly remember the tone, the excitement, the overwhelming joy in my daughters voice as she proclaimed “Loons! Dadda! Loons!”, as we heard their mysterious call, and eventually saw them come swimming over.
As a long time advocate for ecological preservation, it has not been hard to draw the connection between exposure to untouched nature, and future environmental stewardship.
What has been surprising for me though, is to learn over the years, how as adults, we often have a yearning for nature, a desire to see the mysterious, a penchant to appreciate beauty in all it’s forms. These feelings though, are often forced to reside below the surface. These interests take a back seat, out of necessity, to the daily activities and responsibilities that take up our time. Work, school, groceries, errands, meetings, drop offs and pick ups, and a whole plethora of other things, tend to keep most of us at an arm’s length from the natural beauty around us. When we start to consider the “concrete jungle” that surrounds us, the pavement, the sidewalks, the buildings, the sprawling cities, the artificial environments we work and even play in , it becomes even more apparent how strong the disconnect to nature can be.
There is still a wild, beautiful, natural world out there that we can connect to through flowers…
A simple act, like grabbing a bouquet while racing through the grocery store after work, can lead us back to that connection residing below the surface . Spending a moment to admire the perfect symmetry of a zinnia bloom, or to deeply inhale the sweet fragrance from fresh cut peonies can quite literally energize our soul.
Allow me… as a farmer, as a father, as a lover of nature, to encourage you to take a moment from the daily grind and appreciate the beauty and promise held inside of a blooming flower. The flower does not pick sides, the flower does not draw divides, the flower does worry about the future or regret the past. The flower blooms, and when well cared for the flower blooms with a healthy magnificence that is undeniable. Take this beauty, carry it with you, if not in your arms, then in your mind’s eye. Even if you can’t take a bouquet home from your favorite floral designer, you can still take 30 seconds, a minute, and sit under a tree. Or smell the sweet scent of a blooming urban landscape as you walk by.
I believe this connection to nature holds great promise. Nurture it. Feed it. Allow it to bloom on it’s own, like the flower that sparks it. This connection has the power to shift how we appreciate the finest details of life, and how we react when those details of nature are threatened.
Now that the farming season in Vermont has come to a close, I hope to spend a bit more time writing and philosophizing here on the Mountain Flower Farm blog. I hope you will join me… Some subjects I hope to explore and share: “Why i Farm” , “The Rewards and Reach”, “Cover Cropping for Small Scale Farms”, and “Cultivating a Profitable Niche” . As we get closer to spring, I’ll dive deeper into the nuts and bolts of #beyondorganic cultivation techniques, as well as sharing some of the little tricks that have helped the Mountain Flower Farm flourish over the past 20 years.
Best wishes from Vermont,