Something weird happens to me in the fall. Like a biological instinct to head south for the winter, I am strangely infused with an energy to gather and prepare for the long winter months ahead.
It is like my instincts take over and it is time to harvest.
This year it has taken the monumental form of pickling and salsa making. I rationalize my crazy as though it will be good for me. "No preservatives" I say, as I spend days chopping, sterilizing and preparing.
My mind knows costco will be open all winter, but I am drawn to this kind of harvesting as though I am having an out of body experience and my great grandmother has stepped in.
I find myself looking over fences, scouting apples, and scorning those who do not pick them.
My life force wants to harvest and there seems little I can do.
Although the Puritan in me believes that home cooked food is good for you, I have definitely taken it too far - plus taken my family with me. I have been canning all weekend, convinced I will triumph. I soothe
myself knowing that each moment of preparation was rich with creativity and connected to one of my favourite mediums, food. However, I am left here on a Sunday night as my family has all gone to bed, listening to the chatter of yet another batch of cans processing in the hot pans of boiling water. I lament that there is one more batch to go before I too can retire.
"This is not so unbusy" I think to myself.
My plan has gone awry. I have stepped into the future and left the moment far behind, thinking I can be prepared for what comes. To be ready, have my pantry stacked, abandoning all senses that I now know I will be taken care of in each moment. That all I need is always available to me. Perhaps this crazy instinctual drive is part of that. I have sure had a lot of energy and honestly have loved the experience of it.
You see, I have a strange love affair with making things. All kinds of things, art, food, crafts, projects etc.
For example, the other day, I was absolutely thrilled with myself, as I had figured out on my own, how to make a garlic braid. I love it. I just do.
Well here is to an ounce of crazy in a sea of grounded days. I sure hope we all like the salsa and pickles. We definitely have a lot of them with extra cucumbers and peppers to spare.
Kim McCrimmon lives in Canada and blogs about simple
artful living and the journey of becoming Unbusy On Purpose.
One thing that delights my senses is a trip to the
farmers market with my kids. We arrive early on a Friday morning to avoid
weekend crowds and are joined by throngs of retirees and other moms. Quickly we
are drawn into one of our favourite stands and are met with the gorgeous colors
of all the farm fresh vegetables. It is like they have been waiting for us.
All of us immediately find our moods heightened and are exploring the tantalizing
fruits and vegetables with our eyes. We are competing with each other to notice
the amazing foods we have discovered. Hearing lots of "ooos," "aahs," and "look
over here's"! The kids have become just as excited about fresh food as I am.
What really makes me glow is when they discover a new food and are curious to
ask " what's this Mommy?" Then comes the wonderful conversation to discover
something new. I usually answer with "let's give it a try."
This week we discovered the most gorgeous dragon fruit.
I had always been intimidated to try it due to the high cost at our grocery
store. But on this day they looked too enticing to pass up. At the checkout we
asked the clerk if she knew how to eat what we were feeling was an exotic fruit.
She told us to slice it in half and scoop it out. She explained that it would
taste similar to a kiwi.
When we did cut it open, we were delighted to find the
most beautiful colors. Inside was white flesh with small poppyseed like seeds
and the most luxurious pink outside. The color alone was just amazing. We all
sank our spoons in with great abandon and were met with the most refreshing
fruit flavour. Needless to say we devoured it.
The only thing missing was a fear to try something new, and the familiar "I don't like it" before they try.
After years of similar kinds of experiences, I see a wonderful connection with
my kids to food. They want to participate in buying, making, eating and
exploring new recipes with it. Not all discoveries are a home run, but the
conversation is open at least. I hope these experiences will inform them to take
risks in other areas of their lives too as they grow older. In the moment,
though, I am thrilled to have them dive into a box of raspberries or cherries
with the same kind of joy that I have. To giggle and delight in the simple
pleasure of fresh food. That makes me feel good.
I sent my youngest off to school today. I expected he would return happily
to his school and be excited to see friends. What surprised
me was he was nervous, feeling scared and really wanted to stay with Mommy. He
grabbed his bag, his coat and announced he would not be going to school. I felt
my heart well with compassion, as in that moment, I too wanted to run for the
hills. To keep him close with me and hope that my love would be enough. That
school perhaps was an unnecessary element of his life.
I was surprised by my reaction, as I have been doing
school for a long time now. Home schooling doesn't seem like such a crazy idea
when your heart is pulled in such genuine ways.
I thought I would relish a few hours to myself, but
instead I sat practically catatonic looking at old photos and wondering where
the time has gone. The old fear of "my babies are getting older" scares me a
bit. We have had such an amazing experience together this summer that I did not
realize how hard it would be to say "good-bye."
To assure him that school is a good place, we make special plans for lunch after..
Mommy will be waiting, I infuse into my last hugs. The only full promise
I can give as he takes one more step into the world of his making. "I love you"
I whisper as he agrees to go in. "Mommy always comes back" is my last assurance
that all will be okay. I leave as tears well and my heart strings pull. Love
this deep is amazing and terrifying at the same time. I choose to walk forward,
not looking back, and wait to be together again soon.
Now I sit watching each minute ticking by, desperate to
not be late. I am first in line at the preschool, waiting to make
sure he is okay. Sure enough he is smiling and pleased to share that he had an
awesome time. What a relief. We giggle, share and head off for a celebratory
lunch. I am amazed with him and am totally enthralled with his tales of the day.
What a wonderful feeling to be present with my child and share in these early
Getting unbusy on purpose has been a process. I'm here to share some of what I have learned and the tales of its making.
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