amy in blueberry land

Several people –myself included– have asked me recently, how am I doing? How do I feel about our move, now? Depending on the day, even the moment, the answer seems to vary greatly: busy… happy… completely overwhelmed… incredibly grateful… so tired… a bit lost… inspired… in awe… in tears...

We’re still settling in, the dining room is still a storage space for a slowly dwindling pile of unpacked boxes, and this whole “living in Maine” thing?… it still feels kind of surreal. I do not yet feel a clear sense of place. But mostly, lately, I really love it here! It feels right, and I am content, and at peace, being here, now. Slowly, I am beginning to find my ground in our new house, our new town, our new life. And I’m feeling such gratitude for the basic ok-ness of it all! In the early days after our move, before we had moved into our “forever home,” and begun to truly “settle in” here in Maine, there were some moments when something (a line from a song, the taste of a sip of tea, an email sent from far away, some words spoken by my oldest son) would bring forth such a sudden, strong wave of longing, I could barely register it before noticing I was weeping. Most often the longing was for a loved one back in Boulder, a dear friend I wished I could meet for a tea date, see in person, touch, talk to, and hug… or for an old, familiar ritual that used to, perhaps, mark the passage of our days through the seasons, or simply shift our energy when the boys and I were having a frustrating morning together. Have we made a mistake? I worried, in those moments, or, what if it takes a really long time to find friends as loving and supportive and intelligent and inspiring and brave and soulful and, and… sigh.

These things –meeting people, connecting on a deeper level, establishing lifelong friendships, and cultivating conscious, soulful community– well, of course these things will take time.

But creating new, place-based seasonal rituals? Well, we can get started on this immediately! And so, my new obsession was born this summer…

… in blueberry land! This is where I live now, and will live for a brief, delicious time from about mid to late summer, every year from now on.

Looking for berries, berries for jam

Blueberry picking was so much fun, and such a wholesome, summertime activity for the boys.

Later that week, turning those piles of sweet, juicy berries into jam was the most satisfying of tasks. Working in the kitchen of my 150-year-old home, I thought about all the other women, over all those years, cooking and preserving food for their families.

As I stood at my stove, stirring a bit of honey into those simmering, bubbling blueberries, while the boys played nearby with my mom, my thoughts moved from those mothers of years past, to the days ahead of us, the cooler mornings to come, when my family would spread this dark purple jam on our toast…

And slowly, slowly, as those berries began to be transformed into jam, and that sweet smell filled our kitchen, I began to feel my first glimmerings of a sense of place.