Last Thursday the glean team took care of business! It was a gloriously sunny morning and the gang and I ventured out to Hammerskjold to find a beautifully lush tree full of clementines! The number of little orange orbs must have reached easily into the hundreds. What made our job a teensy bit difficult, however, was the fact that the tree was so incredibly dense with leaves! We had to work together, one person holding branches back with the picker, while the other went to town on the beautiful little bundles of clementines. These clementines were perfect! I kid you not, they were just the right blend of sour and sweet (we had to indulge in a couple of course). And after a solid 45 minutes of pickin' away, we had almost 4 huge canvas totes full to the brim with gorgeous little clementines. What a fantastic way to start a Thursday! I was beyond pleased that I could go outside and hang out with great people while picking fruit as my pre-midterm activity. Just being outside, at one with the nature around me, proved to be the utmost therapeutic and beneficial thing before sitting in a stuffy classroom for an hour. How blessed I am!
Today, I was inspired to rise early and seize the day, honoring Mothers around the world, including Mama Earth, and hang out at the Free Farm Stand with a couple kids in my Foods and Community class. I had heard that we would be planting trees for Mother's Day, and I could not think of anything else I would want to do then honor the most important and life-giving mother of all, our earth! So, since I could not be with my own Mama, I decided that being outside in the open-air and vibrant city would be a treat! Also, I had heard that the Free Farm Stand was set up every Sunday in the grounds of a playground, so I would be able to watch the little babies with their families! (That sounds especially creepy, mind you it is not intended to!).
I ended up driving up to the city with Susannah, Brittany, and Tim, all members of Page's class. We got into a little blue van and hit the road with our totes full of clementines. Upon arriving at around noon, I saw two long tables set up, one piled high with fresh produce of all kinds, mostly greens, and the other covered with gorgeous loaves of bread. Oh man it was a sight to be seen! So much bread, all different types, and lucky individuals would be getting it for free! Next to the bountiful bread lay delicious spreads of homemade humus, tangy salsas (also homemade), chips, carrots, celery, diced and seasonded cucumbers, vegan chocolate chip banana bread (my personal favorite), and a huge bowl of rice and veggies made on the spot from a fantastic guy Michael (who also made the humus). Y.U.M! It was amazing! I spent the next couple hours handing out breads to smiling faces. I was able to use my Spanish a couple of times, yippeee! and I felt a surge of overflowing happiness just giving with no expectation of receiving anything tangible back.
Most everyone was extremely grateful and visibly content with their food, some even returning to the table for seconds. The amount of respectful everyone showed to one another throughout the whole process was remarkable and uplifting to witness. There were no issues or discrepancies in the line, no rudeness or abrasiveness when asking for food, instead there was a gentle and appreciative vibe filling the place. As I felt the sun on my cheeks and heard the strumming of a guitar by one of the older volunteers at the stand, I knew that this was the definition of bliss, at least to me. I am so very happy to have spent Mother's Day with kind friends and complete strangers, all getting along with each other in such a simple yet beautifully rich way.
It is easy to be swept away into the frivolity that surrounds us each day, to only think about the me rather than the we. But once we realize that life is so much more fulfilling once hedonistic ways are relinquished and compassion takes root deep within our souls, then your sleepy and vapid existence is awakened to a beautiful and full one. Dare to broaden your horizons. Make a friend, a family member, a stranger's road a little easier to travel on. I encourage you to find peace in simplicity and the generous act of giving!
Love & Light,