I was paying particular attention to the types of plants and trees that were growing all around me as a study toward understanding the woodland that we'll be converting into food forest. I've often felt a sense of wonder looking into any densely wooded or overgrown portion of land, but after watching this Geoff Lawton video on establishing food forests it peaked my interest a little more than usual. Funny, how an idea can be a part of your make up, but suddenly something very simplistic brings its truth to the surface and the resulting feeling is almost like having an epiphany.
At some point I stepped off of the road over to an area grown up with "weeds" and picked some fuzzy-looking purple flowers. Tuut (it's a nickname we gave her-short for "tandertuut" which is just a funny way of saying tater tot....) really loved that I was being adventurous, giving me a sweet giggle and a huge smile. So I let her hold the beautiful purple wild flowers for the duration of our trip.
As we continued to walk, we turned a corner where stood a house with one large tree and one stump in the lawn. My eye was particularly drawn to the stump, like it was something exotic, or maybe a place where something interesting could happen. I realized that, to me, it was the only thing of interest in this yard. Then, the way I felt looking at that stump-full of potentially interesting things and processes- surrounded by this oh-so-boring yard.... it immediately made me think of how I feel when I think of my childhood. Then something just clicked for me.
For the last four years, I've been learning more and more about nature, plants, growing things, becoming sustainable. I've known for a while now that I've always loved the idea of living in a forest. I used to actually joke that I must have been a fairy in a former life because I was so drawn to nature. At some point walking down this current path it became apparent to me that if I couldn't get myself into a forest, I'd bring one to me.
So the idea of sustainability is very appealing to me because there is a sense of freedom that I believe must come along with it-monetarily if nothing else. Then the idea of creating a forest that incorporates those principles is doubly so because it is the embodiment of an adventure every single day, a peaceful escape, on top of a means of becoming sustainable.
About the time I started realizing that I wanted all of this I was also starting to understand more about my own most innermost workings. I started to understand not only myself, but others. The mistakes we make and why we make them; our sometimes somewhat skewed sense of pursuing happiness. I started pulling things that had been buried down deep from childhood up to the surface.
Now, I don't want anyone thinking that I was the victim to anything particularly awful, but we all have had experiences at certain stages of development that set the mold for the person we will become. Sometimes those experiences are traumatic, though. And for something to be traumatic, it doesn't even have to be something extremely terrible; it just has to have a certain negative effect on our outlook of life at that particular time. Some of these things we may not even remember. I won't get into the long list of details on things that may or may not have effected me here, but suffice it to say I had to see and roll with some stuff as a child that I now realize I wouldn't want my own child to ever witness or deal with. I spent most of my life thinking that I was ok with it, that it was normal to deal with these things and to be ok with them because they just happened. To be honest, for a while I might have even been a little bit proud that I thought of myself as someone who could just adapt and move on. And maybe I am. But as I've come to know myself better and better over the years, I see some draw backs even to that.
I say all of that to say this: thoughts of my childhood leave a sort of stale taste in the mouth of my memories. I feel things like limitation and boredom; feelings like there was life to be lived that wasn't. I was never deprived of the most basic needs; I had food, clothing, people who loved and cared for me, not much but some extra money to get to buy toys and go do things from time to time. But I think I was missing out on childhood adventure. I think even then the calling of nature was in my blood, willing me to explore it and find that adventure, but I had no clue it existed or even how to find it. There were never any interesting spots of wilderness around me growing up. I had one granddad that had a garden, but it was more so off limits to me than something I could have learned from.
So most of my time was spent watching movies and, as I got older, reading A LOT of fantasy novels. Eventually I began finding adventure in themed clothing: one day I was Gothic, the next punk, the next prairie, the next kawaii, and so on and on and on. I became fatally attracted to cuteness and the supernatural. I even went through a stage where I had the overwhelming sense of needing to buy everything that I found visually attractive ( I had a bit more money to blow and fewer priorities then....). I realize now, the feeling I get when looking at a dense copse of trees or the harmonious rambling of a meadow, is the feeling I was always looking for in all of that. And to some point it was fulfilled, but not without spending money time after time. Because the feeling was always short-lived it never quite satisfied.
And even today, as interested as I am in this idea, I feel like I should be RUNNING toward it, not just slowly ambling down the path. But old habits die hard. I still find myself torn sometimes-between the freedom and peacefulness that comes with living a simpler life and that surge of satisfaction that comes with buying some new decoration or article of fashion. I'm not saying I should beat myself up about it, but sometimes I get frustrated with the fact that I spend my money on what isn't needed instead of just diving deeper into the marvelous adventure of nature. I feel like I should be pursuing a peace that will last the test of time, instead of that instantaneous ziiing!
I've been on my one month temporary lay-off this September we're in right now, and to be honest, it has been much much easier to focus on what really matters. I think I tend to get overwhelmed with how much goes on around me when I get out and start mingling with the rest of the civilized world. And considering I'm still very much draw to a good story, working at a library I continue adding books to my ever expanding list that must be read before I die-haha! So in fewer words, I get side-tracked (to the point of overwhelming) easily by pretty, neat, and interesting things and ideas. So I suppose I believe living a simpler life will also ease a lot of mental anxiety I put on myself.
As I said starting out with this blog, part of my writing it is to find others, hopefully some in my area here in Etowah County or thereabouts, to have this sort of conversation with. The more the merrier :D I want to surround myself with people who love being plant nerds :) I want to talk to people who enjoy watching things grow. I want to share my awe over the many functions of plants most people consider obnoxious with someone other than just my husband and myself. Don't get me wrong, I try. But no one around me (on a regular basis anyway), other than my dear loving husband, truly gets enjoyment out of the conversation. I'm usually just talking to hear myself talk when it comes to these sorts of things-haha!
Well, at this point I'm just rambling. I just had that nice little experience of on my walk today, and it prodded me into sharing much more of myself than I have previously. For those who read this far, kudos to you!