by Molly Veydovec*
It’s been a long year for many of us. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all experienced levels of isolation, fear, and anxiety. Nearly everything we knew to be “normal” has officially gone out the window. Just over a year ago, COVID was a distant threat. Today it’s very real and we’ll be globally dealing with its aftermath for many months and possibly years to come.
Would you like to know what kept me sane while quarantined at home with a wily 2-year old, juggling work and sanity?
Nature. blissful, perfect, holy nature.
We walked our river trail every single day. We sat and played in the mud. We pulled our music onto the back deck and splashed in water. Anything outside. Being in the fresh, clear air has always given me a feeling of optimism and the ability to stay in the moment … unafraid, focused on what is good. Feeling connected to each other and the trees and sky that surround us.
Nature reminds me to live in the moment and appreciate what I’m experiencing. Nature is the simplest way I know to feel close to God and all that is good.
Now, we’re coming into spring. Some of us sooner than others, but – nonetheless – the hope of spring is strong in the air. I’m looking forward to planting a small garden with my now 3-year-old son, this Spring.
I’ve looked forward to a time when he can understand the simple act of planting a seed and watching it grow. I’m convinced children understand nature and the earth better than we adults do. Just watching him rake joyfully in the dirt is a reminder of the peace of this moment, of God’s good earth, of the abundance that exists right in front of us, in this very moment.
It’s for these reasons that I believe the act of planting, growing and sharing are so very meaningful. It just can’t get any simpler than a day spent in the sun, connecting with nature, appreciating the miracle of fresh basil or summer squash. There will always be enough to share and so we’ll lovingly pack up the extra produce and share with neighbors and friends.
That act of sharing abundance will give us a brighter feeling than even the sun! It’s that feeling that I want my little one to grow up experiencing.
I want to plant this experience like a seed in his heart, so as he grows he will remember it as something we’ve always done. Is it Spring? Let’s plant. Summer? Time to harvest. Do we have more than enough? Give.
We’ll start slow this year with a few herbs and peppers. When he is older, I’ll bring him out to the fields near our home and we’ll volunteer as gleaners, together, to harvest the food that will be donated to our neighbors in need. We’ll gratefully combine our modest time and energy with the abundance of gifts from the earth. I’ll get to watch Jack learn the simple lessons of growing, of giving, of gratitude.
Do you have a young person in your life that would benefit from more time outside, connecting to the earth, giving back to their community? Is it something you ache to do more of?
Explore and learn more about gleaning, growing, and food waste. (Click here to check out the Food Matters Action Kit from Montreal, Canada.) The “From Seed to Table” kids’ activity for ages 5-13 starts on PDF page 15.)
If you want to combine gleaning, outdoor activities, and sharing good food that’s already been grown, you need to register as a volunteer with The Society of St. Andrew! Click here to create a volunteer profile. This way you can receive updates about gleaning opportunities in your region and bring your family out sometime to connect with nature, in service to your neighbors in need.
*Molly Veydovec is a SoSA Volunteer
References: CEC. 2019. Food Matters Action Kit. Montreal, Canada: Commission for Environmental Cooperation [http://www.cec.org/flwy/]