M. Jane Ross
The blog posts by the Telling HerStories bloggers have an unmistakable theme this month: going back to the source of our inspiration and creativity.
Susan Tweit’s subject is the land. For inspiration, she told us in Friday’s blog post, she takes a walk so she can feel and smell and see the land every day. And Janet Riehl wrote earlier in the month suggesting places and activities to foster our muse.
Me, I go to the farm. It’s my Saturday morning ritual. A little before 9 a.m., I set out to drive the 20 minutes across town to the small urban farm called Boggy Creek. I’ve been doing this almost every week for, I think, nine years.
At the farm stand I greet the farmers, Carol Ann and Larry and the other farm-stand regulars like Eric, the chef from Wink restaurant. I stop to chat with Gail who sells lavender, and with Marilyn and Clare who weigh the vegetables and tot up customers’ purchases.
If the one of the Maria’s (mother or daughter) is at hand replenishing the vegetable tables, I nod, “Cómo estás? Hace mucho frio, no!” They’re not much given to speaking to the customers, but since I know it is they who harvest most of the vegetables I eat every week, it seems only polite to inquire, How are you? It’s pretty cold, huh?
The laden tables of vegetables are festive and enticing with their vital freshness and vibrant colors. The carrots glow when they’re fresh-pulled from the ground and just rinsed in the salad shed. The brassicas are like jewels: emerald cabbages, romanesco (fractal) cauliflowers in jade hues, sometimes even red cabbages like giant baroque black pearls, though not today.
And when I’m done choosing what I need for the week, I take a stroll
out to the fields behind the farmhouse and sit for a few minutes
drinking in the sight of this land, the source of my food. The source
too of my inspiration.
A chicken struts toward my bench hoping for a morsel of people-food. Larry may pause on his way across the yard to sit a minute. We exchange observations about the weather and the crops and sometimes about politics. The lack of rain has been cruel; the strawberry plants almost succumbed to the too-alkaline city water when the well ran dry. But for all the doom and gloom, we can’t complain. What could be better than sitting here by the fields in the weak winter sun as the neat rows of intense green, framed by winter-dried grasses and bare-limbed trees, hum with life. There will be fresh greens for lunch. All is well.
Writing prompt: Do you have a favorite ritual for rejuvenating yourself and reviving your creative spirit? What place or activity brings you back to a sense of connection to the creative source? Tell me about it here on the blog. And write about it in your journals or notebooks.
Boggy Creek Farm’s owner Carol Ann Sayle has a story and recipe in our very own Kitchen Table Stories cookbook-anthology, available from Amazon.com or direct from Story Circle Network.