When Maine first shut down in 2020 we were just at the start of the Spring season, the chill of winter started to subside, the earth started to thaw and in the midst of isolation and chaos, the promise of Spring made everything feel a little bit lighter. All across the world, triggered by panic, so many of us began to think in survival mode. How will I support and feed my family when going to the grocery store felt uncertain at best and life-threatening at worst? Regular people became home bakers, makers, gardeners and entrepreneurs and I was no different. With some extra time on my hands I made my first successful loaf of white bread, followed by challah, beignets, muffins and even pasta. We expanded our garden and spent most waking moments out in nature because it was the only place that felt safe.
As the chill of winter 2020 rolled in, we went back to work, back to modified and complicated school schedules and, along with our shortening daylight hours, went my ambition to do absolutely anything. From that point, and right into Spring 2021, we were busy. Everyone was trying to play catch up on all we thought we missed the Summer before. I ended out the year exhausted, depressed and feeling so disconnected from myself that I couldn't seem to find my way back. Everything feels heavy and stressful again and I can't help but wish myself back to April 2020 when things moved slower.
Since the start of 2022 I've been feeling an overwhelming pull to be outdoors again, to move my body with intention and purpose and to live simpler. This isn't an unusual feeling for many of us, during October to December we are sucked into consumerism, rich foods and political season which all take a tole on our mental and physical well-being and leave us depleted. Then we are plopped right into January feeling unprepared but optimistic about what could-be. I chalked up my need for nature to these very normal seasonal feelings.
Then I downloaded a copy of Where the Deer and the Antelope Play by Nick Offerman. I've listened to all of his audio books so I was excited for this one to come out but, truthfully, I didn't even look at what it was about. I had just assumed it was more of his life's ramblings that I've so enjoyed in the past. This book could not have come at a more perfect time, of course one man's opinions don't necessarily make for any kind of 'sign' and I wasn't really looking for one but this book reiterated what I've been feeling this past year - a disconnect from myself and nature. American's have nurtured this culture that 'nature' is something we need to experience or control but it's totally the opposite. Nature doesn't request anything of us, it's going to do it's thing whether we're there or not and it's actually our job to do as little as possible, to utilize what's abundant and only use what's necessary.
After finishing Offerman's book, I started back up with Rachel Brathen's podcast, Conversations from the Heart. I picked up with the most recent episode at the time titled 'It Takes A Village: Living with Nature, Building Community and Starting from Scratch'.
WOW. If the first book wasn't some kind of sign, this podcast was. Rachel discusses her recent move from Aruba to her homeland near Stockholm, Sweden. She touches on how although she's been relatively content, the feeling of not belonging or being displaced has been following her for a long time and only her return to nature and Mother Earth has made her feel safe again. She realized this during the beginning of shut-downs when she began to garden, cook and be in nature more than ever before. This is exactly how I've been feeling. I have always been most content during the summer months, when I spend my 15-20 minutes a day tending to my garden. Rachel asks the question, why can't we live like this always?
I've never been a goal setter, or maybe it's more accurate to say that I've never been a goal achiever. I'm going to be risky and make a goal to exist in nature as I am, to reconnect to the earth every chance that I can and to live simpler with less expectation.
My mantra for 31 is I exist with nature.
I am a Maine maker and mother of two. I dabble in graphic design and co-own a screen printing business with my husband of 9 years.