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Harvesting Happiness: Unlocking the Joy of Seasonal, Locally-Sourced Produce

June 27, 2024

Table of Contents

Harvesting Happiness: Unlocking the Joy of Seasonal, Locally-Sourced Produce

Tapping into the Rhythms of Nature

As I sit here, staring out the window at the vibrant greens of spring, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of disconnect. The world around me is bursting with life, yet my own spirit feels heavy and drained. It’s as if the tides of joy and purpose have receded, leaving me stranded on the shores of despair.

But then I remember the wise words of my dear friend, Karen Walrond. She once told me, “The older I get, the more I believe that ebbing and flowing, waxing and waning, is the natural order of things – just like the tides, the moon, and the seasons.” In that moment, I realize that perhaps my struggle isn’t a sign of failure, but rather a natural ebb in the rhythm of my own life.

You see, I’ve always prided myself on my ability to stay grounded and connected, even in the face of overwhelming adversity. I’ve written extensively about the power of joy, of finding beauty in the midst of chaos. But lately, it’s as if the weight of the world has become too much to bear. The invasion of Ukraine, the heartbreaking laws targeting transgender youth in my home state of Texas – it’s all felt like a relentless barrage of cruelty and injustice.

And in those moments, when I can’t seem to access the joy that once fueled my activism, I’ve found myself wrestling with guilt. How dare I take pleasure in the simple things, like watching my son score a goal or decorating birthday cupcakes, when there is so much suffering in the world? Aren’t I betraying the very causes I hold dear?

Embracing the Ebb and Flow

But as Karen so eloquently reminded me, this internal struggle is not a sign of weakness or failure. In fact, it’s a testament to the depth of our compassion, the breadth of our empathy. It’s what makes us human, and it’s what drives us to make the world a better place.

“The mark of a wild heart,” as I wrote in my book Braving the Wilderness, “is living out the paradox of love in our lives – the ability to be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid, all in the same moment.” And it’s in that tension, that delicate balance, that we find the strength to keep fighting for justice and peace, even when the world seems intent on crushing our spirits.

Because the truth is, we can’t pour from an empty cup. We can’t give to others what we don’t have ourselves. And that’s where the practice of joy, of celebrating the beauty and wonder all around us, becomes so vital. It’s not about denying the struggle or diminishing the pain; it’s about fueling ourselves, so that we can continue the fight.

As Karen so wisely pointed out, this isn’t just a nice-to-have, but a necessity for those of us who are committed to making the world a better place. “Activism in order to have longevity in the work,” she told me, “has to have a rhythm to it – an ebb and a flow. We inhale and exhale; everything has a rhythm.”

Cultivating a Practice of Joy

And so, I’m reminded of the practices I once held so dear – the daily gratitude journaling, the habit of seeking out and capturing moments of beauty through my camera lens. These weren’t just indulgences, but rather essential tools in my arsenal, reminders of the joy and connection that make the fight worth fighting.

Because when I think back to the moments that have sustained me, even in the darkest of times, it’s those small acts of celebration that stand out. Like the day after Hurricane Harvey devastated our community, when Karen and her family found refuge in the home of a neighbor they barely knew. Even in the midst of that overwhelming trauma, Karen was able to identify the “one good thing” – the kindness of a stranger offering shelter and comfort.

Or the year I spent intentionally seeking out and photographing beauty during the season of Lent, a practice that quite literally changed the way I saw the world. Suddenly, the simple things – a vibrant sunset, a child’s laughter, the warmth of a hug – became sources of nourishment, reminders of the goodness that exists, even when the darkness feels all-consuming.

And so, as I sit here, trying to navigate these tumultuous waters, I’m reminded of the power of these practices. The simple act of asking myself, “How can I feel connected, healthy, and purposeful today?” is like a lifeline, anchoring me to the rhythms of the natural world and reminding me that this too shall pass.

Cultivating Resilience Through Seasonal Eating

And it’s not just in our spiritual and emotional lives that we can find this ebb and flow, this cycle of renewal and rejuvenation. When we look to the natural world, to the seasons that govern the rhythms of our food system, we find a powerful metaphor for living with intention and resilience.

At Thornappple CSA, our mission is to connect our community with the bounty of seasonal, locally-sourced produce. And in doing so, we invite our members to participate in a deeper dance with the natural world, to experience the joy and nourishment that comes from aligning our lives with the cycles of the seasons.

Because when we step away from the constant barrage of choices and the pressure to have it all, all the time, we open ourselves up to a more authentic, grounded way of being. We learn to savor the fleeting beauty of spring’s tender greens, to revel in the vibrant hues of summer’s abundant harvest, and to find comfort in the hearty, sustaining roots of autumn and winter.

And in doing so, we tap into a wellspring of resilience that sustains us, even in the most challenging of times. As Lysa Terkeurst so eloquently wrote, “There is something powerful that happens when we align our lives with the rhythms of nature. We begin to see that there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Rediscovering the Joys of Seasonal Eating

And so, as I journey through this latest ebb in the tides of my own life, I find myself drawn back to the simple pleasures of seasonal eating. There’s something almost meditative in the act of chopping fresh vegetables, of inhaling the earthy aromas that fill my kitchen. The vibrant colors and flavors of a Mediterranean-inspired salad, bursting with the season’s bounty, become a tangible reminder of the beauty and abundance that surrounds me.

And as I sit down to savor each bite, I can’t help but reflect on the intricate dance between the land, the farmers, and the community that made this meal possible. I imagine the hands that tended to the soil, the seeds that were carefully sown and nurtured, the centuries of wisdom and tradition that have been passed down, all in service of nourishing body and soul.

It’s in these moments of connection, of deep reverence for the natural world, that I find the strength to keep going. The weight of the world may feel heavy, but I am reminded that I am not alone. There are countless others, like the dedicated team at Thornappple CSA, who are working tirelessly to build a more just, sustainable, and joyful food system.

And so, I invite you to join me on this journey of rediscovering the simple pleasures of seasonal eating. Whether it’s savoring the first tender asparagus spears of spring or reveling in the vibrant hues of autumn’s harvest, let us find solace in the rhythms of nature and the ways they can nourish both body and spirit.

For in doing so, we tap into a well of resilience that can sustain us, even in the darkest of times. We learn to flow with the ebb and tide, to embrace the waxing and waning of our own energy and passion. And in the process, we discover that true joy is not something that must be sacrificed, but rather the very fuel that powers our pursuit of a better world.

About Us

Thornapple CSA: A community-driven initiative championing sustainable agriculture. We connect members with fresh, organic produce, celebrating the bond between land and community.

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