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Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Seasons: Ordinary miracles


This past week I’ve thought about Judith and Rachel.

My friend Judith Niemi lives in Minneapolis and years ago she said, “I planned to move to the warm south when I got old, but now it feels like the warm south is moving to me.” During the recent long stretch of sunny days with mid-day humidity in the teens, I felt like I’d moved to California without leaving Conway.

The sun is lovely, yet it is far too dry for May in Massachusetts. I feel like I’m back where I worked irrigating orange groves in California’s Central Valley, a place that grows so much of our country’s food yet gets so little rain.

When I saw Sue Atherton at the farmers market and asked about the dryness and her farm, she said while discing her garden she was followed by a cloud of dust kicked up by the tractor and disc. She said she felt like Pigpen from the “Peanuts” cartoon. Sue and other farmers tell me the dry weather is very worrying.

I never knew Rachel, but she’s on my mind. 50 years ago, Rachel Carson sounded the alarm about the silent spring caused by pesticides killing off so many birds. I thought of Rachel’s message when Sue Bridge asked me recently, “Is it just me, or am I hearing fewer birds singing?”

Sue’s question made me realize I’m not hearing many birds. Is it just early in the season, and the birds have yet to arrive? I hope so.

Unusually dry weather. Fewer birds. I’m feeling discombobulated, a bit unmoored from what feels normal. Is this just a usual variation from normal, or is this the “new normal” of climate change?

At Wildside Gardens, Sue Bridge says she’s “meeting the new normal with a can-do attitude.” While we worked together at Wildside on a recent dry day, we talked about how to meet the new normal with openness and curiosity instead of distress. We agreed that no one can figure out meeting the new normal alone, we need to share information, strategies, and support for the changes we face.

That conversation was heartening. Of course! Everything is more possible when we face it together. Now, I’m thinking of the many ways Franklin County folks work together in the midst of change.

Shel Ball helps coordinate the Franklin Community Co-op members group that serves the free community meal one night a month in Greenfield. In her email checking in with us last month, Shel said, “Who is in for this installment of that ordinary miracle? I love doing this together!”

Ordinary miracles.

Can-do attitudes.

Meeting change with openness and curiosity.

Doing this together.

I can’t make it rain. I can’t bring the birds to Conway. But I can stay open to the ordinary miracle of community coming together to care for each other as we face the new normal.

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Annual Postal Carriers Food Drive, Saturday, May 11. Leave non-perishable food for your postal carrier to pick up. The Center for Self Reliance Food Pantry needs help to receive, sort, and pack food donations at the Greenfield Post Office Annex on Adams Road in Greenfield from 1 to 5 p.m. Contact Dino Schnelle at or (413) 773-5029 to sign up for volunteer shifts.
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This Week We’re Eating. . .

Enhanced Spinach Squares

By Elise Schlaikjer, Greenfield (adapted from “Simply in Season” by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert)

To make these livelier, Elise suggested adding chopped onions or ramps and seasoning, perhaps nutmeg. Chopped cherry tomatoes are also a possibility.

3 eggs

1 C. milk

½ C. whole wheat pastry flour

½ C. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Mix together.

2- 2 ½ C. cheese, shredded

½ pound fresh spinach or sorrel, chopped

Mix in and press into greased square baking pan. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees until knife comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.

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