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On one of the first semi-nice days of spring, my kids and I stopped at the community garden in Bangor to check on our raised beds. It was too early to plant and the supplies hadn’t yet been delivered to supplement the soil with nutrient-rich compost. I’d even said that we weren’t there to work on the boxes.
But as I looked at the abandoned carcasses of plants forgotten from the previous bed renters, I couldn’t help myself. I started pulling the plants, one by one, until it was mostly soil remaining. I felt drawn to make those boxes more ready for the growth to come.
Ahh, touching the dirt, pulling the plants … it all felt so good. I could practically imagine the seeds sprouting already.
By the time you read this, our gardens — yours and ours — will hopefully be lush. Maybe even some of the plants will have things ready to harvest. I cannot wait.
Late spring and summer are seasons of growth and freedom, warmth and possibilities. Summer, in particular, is my favorite. I love the feeling of endlessness that comes with those days in June and early July, just after school has released for summer.
Growth and possibilities are things echoing in other areas of my life this year too. My son, Will, is about to graduate from middle school and head to high school where new challenges await him. He’s been fortunate to have been taught by some really passionate teachers who’ve brought math, science, French and English alive for him.
I wonder what the future might bring.
But right now I am thinking more of the possibilities of this summer — a time when I will encourage my kids to go outside and play; to hang out with friends and ride bikes; to explore the world around them. And together, we’ll explore too — new trails (see Aislinn Sarnacki’s suggestions in Hike ME), new parts of Maine, new places. Todd Nelson’s essay on the importance of outdoor play to kids really struck a chord with me when I first read it. I am a big proponent of low-tech childhoods and learning to live with boredom (which ultimately can spawn such creativity), so when he writes “Kids need real wild things and experiences, as well as information,” I am there with an enthusiastic head nod.
This summer will be one of learning and stretching and trying new things for my kids. But it will also be one of exploring and venturing out — and tending to our garden too. After all, that’s what these precious days of summer are made for, aren’t they?
This story was originally published in Bangor Metro’s June/July 2019 issue. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.