I was recently reminded of how my seemingly normal and stable life can change to chaos in the blink of an eye. As we all do at some point, I began to worry about finding a solution. Maybe it’s a character flaw, but it’s so very predictable and totally me to think of others without regard for myself and well-being. Then, I threw caution in the wind and thought of the times that I was truly happy and carefree and realized the answer was there all along in the humble beginnings and simplicity of my childhood.
My love of the outdoors stems from a childhood spent outside surrounded by the joy of nature. I loved the feel of warm sunshine on my face during early spring and the beauty and vibrancy of my grandmother’s favorite pink and white azalea shrubs. I can still visualize the feel of crisp air, the smell of spring and the beginning of new life in the garden provided by our creator.
During the long Florida summers, I would eat breakfast early then run outside (minus shoes and common sense) as fast as my little legs could carry me, feed the chickens, gather eggs for my granny, then take off again to find new daily adventures. Not all of them were good, mind you, but they often consisted of softball, hopscotch, tug of war, drum racing, running, tree climbing and watching clouds. I loved chasing butterflies and feeding the cows and hogs my family raised. Yes, bath time was horrific for my mother because I was covered from head to toe with sand, dirt; bug bites and scrapes from falls.
At lunchtime, I would usually take ten minutes to run home and woof down a sandwich, but found my snacks in the gardens around me. There was always an abundance of juicy, sweet blackberries, sugar cane, figs, pears, tomatoes, sweet corn, plums, nectar from honeysuckle flowers and dates. Usually, the only way anyone could get me to come home for dinner was by threat of a spanking (it never happened because no one could catch me outside) or the allure of a favorite meal: buttermilk fried chicken, homemade biscuits and pure cane syrup or favorite dessert, homemade teacakes.
So, I have come to the realization that I need to go back to the basics to be truly happy. This means returning to the outdoors and being creative in the choices I make in my life, starting at this very moment. I look forward to sharing my new experiences with you. Thank you for being patient with me and please stay tuned….