Nature is aware of the shifting seasons. Crops are aching to be harvested, if they haven’t withered from the heat. Although it hasn’t registered with the thermometer, Summer is sliding into Fall. My lively son has returned to school, leaving a silent boy-shaped void in my day. I’ve been filling the quiet of the school day with jellies, jams, and sauces. As I process and preserve my Summer bounty, I am mindful of the importance of food; food as a reflection of our connection to nature, food as an embodiment of love, food and community.
Mid-August, I picked Serviceberries in the baking sun and watched the pyrocumulonimbus cloud hanging ominously on the horizon. My fingers sticky and purplish with the juice of my sweet bounty. The afternoon light is shifting, I am overheating, and my coffee can is full. Sweat rime and smoke cling to my skin, now synonymous in my experience, with August in Idaho. It is an interesting opportunity to observe a dichotomy in nature. In this moment, I am witness to the destructive power of fire and the healing, nutrients of thick blue, berries.
A few weeks later, bowls, pans, and plates pile up upon my kitchen counters. My eyes are damp and my heart is breaking. So I begin to cook A small act to bring comfort to others, when nothing else makes sense. There are no words to comfort a mother burying her child. Nothing I can say can match the magnitude of such grief. So I pour my care and concern into a meal, I hope will bring some small consolation to a family in transition.
Our community is reeling from recent tragedies, I am not alone in looking for connection. Last weekend, a dear friend invited me to pick sweet corn. Although the heat of the afternoon is not the prime time for harvesting vegetables, we took pleasure in each others company. Building community with the primal act of gathering our own food.
I am part of the ecology of my environment when I forage, rather than a distant observer. There is solace in the ritual act of preparing a meal. A sense of companionship develops while conversation carries over the rustling stalks of corn. Each act a small step on a journey towards a more mindful way of being.