There is a simple presence that comes from living here, with roots growing deep in this land.
A connection. An awareness. Memories taking form.
It comes in the echo of my daughter's laugh as the leopard frog I caught slips out of my hands into the creek. I catch it again and again and her eyes are wide, taking it all in, her laughter getting higher and wilder with each escape and recapture.
When we let the frog go my son, watching it swim downstream, remarks that it "looks like a tiny person" swimming there.
We see ourselves in this place.
It comes in the way his eyes sparkle when he runs to me, fishing pole in hand, announcing that he caught a fish in the creek and that it got away but that it was amazing.
A love for fishing, his father's passion that he has never shared. I saw a twinkle of it there as the sun slipped low.
A new sparkle. A new way to love this place.
His first sleepy words upon waking today were, "That fish was amazing."
And it came in the way she paused, climbing a tree, to smell the bark and announced that it smells "exactly like the water in the Wolf River". She urges me up into the high branches and I oblige, sniffing the orange lichens there.
She's right. It's a dead match.
How does one notice the scent of a lichen and the scent of a river and draw an invisible line between them?
I am awed.
Already her roots are deep.
These days our bird feeders explode with hummingbirds, oriels, finches, and the others. We fill the seed and sugar water diligently, as connected to these wild birds as to the chickens in our coop. Perhaps more.
The same for foods foraged and foods gardened. Both nourish us. Both belong on our table but the wild food brings extra delight.
The children picked wildflowers for our breakfast on Mother's Day. Lupine chose violets for the fruit salad while Sage made dandelion fritters. Bouquets from garden, field and marsh were arranged throughout the house in tea cups, vases, and bottles.
Before we ate Lupine went out alone to pick plantain leaves. She wrapped her violet salad inside like a wild food burrito. Plantain is immune boosting and good for people on antibiotics. (Yes, she is.)
I foraged too, nettles to saute and to dry for tea in the winter. My fingers still tingle this morning a prickly memory of last nights gathering.
Tomorrow we'll go for ramps. Watercress. Morels. And the song of the birds in the hills.
Spring is abundance.
And we're watching it all with eager eyes and deep roots.
Last night when the moon rose over the hills and we listened to the barred owl in the woods, Lupine perched high in that box elder tree that smells of a river racing toward the sea, hundreds of miles from here. We saw a halo around the moon through the brances.
"Will it storm tomorrow, mama?"
"It might," I said.
And in the early morning darkness I woke to the sound of thunder and rain. I smiled.
As I drifted back to sleep I felt my roots sink deeper still into this place.
This place where we belong.
Originally published in 2014.