Nothing, I believe, captures the essence of life’s beauty, wisdom and enchantment, quite like nature. When I was a little girl, I spent quite a bit of time on my nana’s farm, traipsing through the woods, building forts and rafts and playing in the gully with my sister and my cousin. In the fall, my favourite time to explore, I loved the hearing the crunch of the harvested soybean fields under my feet, climbing on top of hay bails, and admiring the colours of the surrounding trees. Spending time in the country at an early age meant that as an adult, I’ve been able to respect and appreciate the secrets that can be found in a fall day, a field or forest. It’s a great gift.
This weekend we were blessed with some of the early-fall weather one hopes for on labour day weekend. Warm sun, low humidity. Gentle breezes. Evenings cool enough to demand a sweater and a pair of jeans, days warm enough to do, well, just about anything you feel like.
My nana’s farm has just been sold, and this weekend I went out one last time to explore. I was accompanied by both my parents. We spent our time collecting wild elderberries for a pie, and my mom helped me pull together a nice collection of wild flowers, which I will experiment with, by drying.
We collected enough elderberries for at least 2 pies, which we will make for Thanksgiving. To preserve them, we picked off all the berries from the stems, placed them in an air-tight plastic bag along with a paper towel to absorb any moisture, and froze them.
This weekend we were also blessed with the opportunity to see some wildlife. While we were eating dinner one evening, we looked out the window and saw a beautiful hawk, sitting at the feeder. He wasn’t feasting on bird seed, but was eyeing a much more satisfying treat – the plump, naughty chipmunks who like to gorge themselves on, well, everything in the feeder.
Earlier that day, as my Mom and I sat outside, reading magazines in the sun, a hummingbird buzzed between us, circling around my Mom’s head. I’d never seen a hummingbird that close-up before, and hearing its little wings whirr like a piece of machinery was a true treat.
At the farm, I also discovered a black and yellow garden spider, an orbweaver apparently common to this part of Ontario and frequently found around this time of year. It loves goldenrod, and a big patch of goldenrod is exactly where I found it. Normally, I am deathly afraid of spiders, but somehow this majestic insect captured my attention in an awe-inspiring, rather than panic-inducing, way. Its colours, interesting web, and unique shape and size, are actually quite beautiful and fascinating.
What many of us are seeking in our lives can really be found quite easily, quite simply. It’s easy to always want something more – a luxury vacation, new clothes, more stuff. But truly, we make life more difficult than it really needs to be. A lot of peace and fulfillment can be found in a field of goldenrod, an elderberry bush, and even, if our hearts are open enough, a spider web.