Lupine went to work with me on Tuesday. It rained all day. And not the sweet, late spring sort of rain that makes you want to wander out in it, picking irises and lilacs. No, it was a cold, grey sky hanging over us all day, with rain slapping the windows and making us chilled through, no matter what the thermostat read.
The day dragged.
At some point in the mid-afternoon I threw in the towel. We were both spinning our wheels and it was time to cut our losses and go home.
Lupine had been reading an Herb Fairies book (afflink) while I worked, this one about the Chickweed Fairy. We have read and reread this entire book series together since she was six years old, and this one is among her favorites.
"Mama, when we get home will you go foraging with me?"
Honestly, there are few words sweeter to my ears than those. But then, like so often, my practical mind piped up about dinner needing to be on time and also about the rain and the cold and the eternal to-do list.
As we drove through the valleys toward home, here eyes sparkled. She had already convinced me to stop at the coop for a loaf of store-bought bread and a container of goat cheese for the chickweed sandwich recipe that lay on her her lap. And though we had chickweed growing close to the house, it wasn't the same as slipping into our rain clothes and muck boots and splashing across the creek and into the forest to find some more.
She was determined that tonight we were foraging chickweed and she was making dinner.
Of course I caved.
Who was I kidding, really? We both knew we were headed to the creek the first moment she asked. (I recon you had a hunch, too.) Because dinner-on-time be damned, it was chickweed season.
It was also enthusiastic 10 year old who wants to hang out with me and forage season.
And I'm certain neither of these seasons was meant to last.
And so we set off. (Even Sage and Charlie couldn't resist coming along.) We headed across the creek and into the woods, to the secret chickweed patch that I found last week. To the fairy spring, beneath the towering cow parsnips, to the lush green wonderland that is Wisconsin only at the cusp of summer and after a rain.
Would dinner be late? It would. But it would be a dinner cooked by her ten-year-old hands, from the wild things that we foraged from our land. It would be a meal made – both figuratively and literally – of sunshine and rain and these hills.
And what could be more delicious than that?
On the walk home there were cow parsnip instruments to make, birds to watch, and hands to hold. She paused to pick violets and cattail shoots to nibble as we walked. We talked like parents and kids so often do when they've misplaced their agendas and distractions, and step out under the big sky and just wander.
And I realized then that perhaps more important than the forage in our basket is the quiet conversations that we share whenever we go.
Isn't life like that? The stuff and substance of it all is happening in these ordinary moments.
When we least expect it, there it is. Everything we wanted and more.
Back home she generously buttered the bread, then spread each piece with soft goat cheese. Copious amounts of fresh, succulent chickweed (still damp from rain) was layered inside, then the sandwiches were grilled and served.
I daresay it may have been the best grilled cheese I've ever had.
Because they were delicious, yes. But for reasons beyond that as well.
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A note about affiliate links: I inquired with you all about how you felt about afflinks a month or so ago and the response was overwhelmingly positive. If you are unfamiliar with affiliate links or how they work, here's the scoop: When you follow an affiliate link in a post I write, if you choose to make a purchase for that items (or anything else in the next 24 hours) I get a small commission on your purchase. Your price is the same, but a bit goes to us. (It's not much, but it's something!) Thank you for supporting my writing here any way you can. Every little bit helps.
The link above was to the Herb Fairies book series. I can't speak highly enough of how much Lupine has learned from these books! The same family creates Lupine's and my favorite board game, Wildcraft.