THE ABUNDANCE IN UNKNOWING

 
Abundance Surrounds Us Foraged Mushroom Photo by Samantha Spigos
Abundance Surrounds Us Cloth Diaper Baby by Samantha Spigos
Abundance Surrounds Us Mother Daughter by Samantha Spigos

There's a Hungarian bakery in the neighboring town. It serves as the one and only place Mark and I have gone on a "date" since having a baby, and in fact the baby has joined us on both such dates. We head there for poppyseed strudel and cappuccinos. If we're being honest with ourselves, the cappuccinos we make at home are superior, and we are decidedly Bagel People. That's not why we go. We go to dream up the fields and forest of our someday land. We go to listen to the ramblings and visions of the other. We go to say Yes to a dream of a pink plaster kitchen (mine) and of growing a plot of wheat just to make a single loaf of bread (his). We go to see each other with fresh eyes. We leave deeming that This is Our Year, and it always is! When we get home—and this is the important part—the very spot we’re in feels brighter.

I admire the thick, worn lines of the kitchen. How they are precise and chaotic, all at once, I cannot say. After a year, and after dozens of loaves of bread, I finally understand the oven and where her hot spots live (right side, towards the front). I tell myself I could live here forever; I might never be ready to leave the room where my baby was born. And yet . . . and yet. What I desire in that deep, unquenchable way — I think it’s called a calling — is not here. We don’t know where it is, and that’s OK. As the weather turns, and I feel myself inhaling the crisp air I long for all summer long, I am resting in the OK-ness of not knowing. For eight months I have been learning how to be a new person; a person I never knew before. To put it far too simply, there has been much to discover and uncover. I am still a brand new woman, reborn in motherhood and learning through immersion. It’s clear that ours is a life with a slow unfolding. For now, baby; For then, farm. A divine hand is happily at work, this I know. The land and farm we desire is yet unknown, but the life we desire is the very one we’re living. Fancy that.

Abundance Surrounds Us Fall Donuts County Fair by Samantha Spigos
Abundance Surrounds Us Sourdough and Organic Tomatoes by Samantha Spigos
Abundance Surrounds Us Seasonal Flower Bouquet Dahlias Zinnias by Samantha Spigos

In other news. . .

I recently had an essay of creative nonfiction published in Taproot Magazine, titled “Cattail Day”. It was my first piece of writing published in print, and I am still overjoyed that it was included. If you are inclined to my style of writing, you will probably enjoy every piece in Taproot. I hoped to include a link for purchase, if you were interested, but I see that the issue that includes my essay is sold out! An excerpt from “Cattail Day”:

“More than twenty years later,

I anticipate the day I can welcome my own daughter into the magic of unknowing,

the sort that beckons even adults to enter into the mystery of Wonder.”


—S

THIS WEEK IN FLOWERS

 
this week in flowers

" If you want to bring happiness to the whole world,

go home and love your family. "

— Saint Teresa of Calcutta


And it begins with children.
+
A book for little people with big dreams.  (Have not read yet, but hope to soon.)

This Week in Flowers is a series where I combine my love of arranging fresh flowers with my love of books. It is a simple way to share with you what's in season around me, and what words I'm finding particularly inspiring. What books do you love that I ought to know about? 

last time 
in This Week In Flowers: Last Stop On Market Street


—S

ON WASHING DISHES + JOURNEYING FOR LAND

 
on washing dishes

On Sunday, with half a loaf of sourdough, a jar of almonds, and our farm boots packed up, my little family loaded into our Volvo station wagon and headed an hour south. Over rolling hills, along the edge of the state forest, and down narrow dirt roads, Mark and I settled into the familiar conversations that accompany our car trips — What are your dreams? What will we eat for supper? When will we visit Greece again? — until we arrived at the nondescript, half-mile drive of a beautiful farm. As part of a yearlong early career farming program we've participated in since last fall, we are paired with farm mentors in our state. We requested this particular farm run by these particular farmers, and are we ever glad. Mark strapped the baby on and we helped the husband-wife team setup a bit of electric fencing for their Jersey steers, Katahdin lambs, and Kunekune hogs. I asked as many questions as I could spit out, but for every answer I thought of 20 more. Farmer wisdom is like maple syrup: when the weather is right, you tap the trees. We talked about pasture grasses and intergenerational farming. Every farmer is a touch crazy, we joked (in seriousness); living with land and beast is Truly, So Good, we agreed (in longing). We imagined if their farm were ours but, more than that, we imagined what will be ours, someday, some way.

washing the dishes
washing the dishes

Sometimes the goal feels faraway, and hard to grasp; cerebral, even. Other times we are living and breathing it, working it into being. Both versions have their place—are necessary, even. To quote my dad who is quoting Thich Nhat Hanh, "Scam, when you're washing the dishes, wash the dishes." And that's just it. Accepting and sinking into everything. Sometimes you're watching your dream unfold as your husband sets up pasture with your baby on his chest; sometimes you're folding another heap of laundry. Days like Sunday are critical for us. They illuminate what's possible, inevitably renewing our faith in the good and decent work of human beings. On my part, days on farms are like a sliver of my past life—a dazzling memory of what I (willingly) gave up when I became a mother, and a glimmer of what I know I will reclaim someday, some way. Everything in its turn.

For every Sunday, there is a Monday, in which the dishes need washing. If less glamorous, making a home and making a budget and making a loaf of bread are critical, too. I awoke Monday, saw Mark off to work with his lunch (turns out I love packing my husband's lunch), set bagel dough out to rise, and then visited the backyard with Rosemary. We sat down by the young, small milkweed—really getting down low to observe it, this little plant that I transplanted in hopes it might attract just one pollinator—and do you know what we saw? A monarch caterpillar.

So, say it with me (and my dad, and Thich Nhat Hanh),
"When you're washing the dishes, wash the dishes."

washing the dishes

—S

THIS WEEK IN FLOWERS

 
this week in flowers
this week in flowers


" She smiled and pointed to the sky.

'Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt, CJ,

you're a better witness for what's beautiful.' "
 

"CJ looked around as he stepped off the bus. Crumbling sidewalks and broken-down doors, graffiti-tagged windows and boarded-up stores. He reached for his Nana's hand. 'How come it's always so dirty over here?'
She smiled and pointed to the sky. 'Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt, CJ, you're a better witness for what's beautiful.' CJ saw the perfect rainbow arcing over their soup kitchen. He wondered how nana always found beautiful where he never even thought to look. "

— An excerpt from Last Stop On Market Streetby Matt de la Peña


+ "Grandmothers can help shape the way children view the world." Amen.
+ Find the book near you; or, gently used; or, from my favorite independent bookseller. (What's yours?)

This Week in Flowers is a series where I combine my love of arranging fresh flowers with my love of books. It is a simple way to share with you what's in season around me, and what words I'm finding particularly inspiring. What books do you love that I ought to know about? 

last time in This Week In Flowers: Walking With the Wind


—S