After being away for most of October, we have at long last returned to our beloved Honey Grove, and how wonderful it is, to be home. Yes, we have been blessed with the opportunity to spend the past month exploring the south of Italy, both countryside and seaside.
We have beheld the kind of beauty and ancientness that takes ones breath away and stirs the very depths of being. We have stood within the sacred walls of old, awe struck at the frescoes overhead, beneath pillars that climb into sky. We have felt small and humbled and shocked by beauty.
We have wondered through olive groves.
And outdoor markets, selling pomegranates and wild mushrooms and an endless abundance from land and sea.
We have marveled at the ways in which the Italian garden is organized and tended. We have witnessed gardens growing next to train tracks and on terraced cliffs edges and beneath bridges, and we have bowed down to the shear dedication that the entire country has to growing its own food, a truly inspiring feat.
We have picked exotic things like almonds and prickly pear cactus that are not familiar to our northern climate, and we enjoyed them immensely.
And now, we are home. And as Dorothy, so knowingly said to Toto, upon their return to Kansas, in the Wizard of Oz, “There is no place like home.” (An undeniable truth, especially, when one is welcomed home, by Gus.)
Who we missed terribly (and it seems that he missed us too).
But the thing that most astonishes me every time I go away, is the ironic way in which one has to leave home, in order to truly appreciate it. As Tom Waits sang in his throaty and soulful way, “I never saw my hometown till I was leavin it behind.” And you know, this line has never rung more true for me. I am not sure that I ever really saw Honey Grove until I left it behind and gazed at it from a distance, through my hearts-eye, from a mediterranean hillside, 10 thousand miles away.
For it was not until we found ourselves in Italy, that we came to know the true extent of our wild love for this place.
Yes, it seems that we are deeply in love with our humble little farm, even more than we knew we were, and this surprised us, for truth be told, we were not sure that it was possible to love Honey Grove anymore than we already did. But love is like that isn’t it? That is to say, when we fall in love, we fall into layers of loving and of knowing, and there is a kind of infinite expansion that occurs. Goodness me, it makes me wonder how much our love for this place will be in 40 years time?
And so, all this is to say, we have come home, and yesterday the bees came out to welcome us back, and so did the sun ( for the 1st time in weeks, we were told).
And while the sun shone, we got back to work.
Digging up gladiola bulbs and putting the garden to bed.
Of course, even though some parts of the garden are sleeping, other parts are thriving.
There are turnips
and kale and cabbage and chard to eat, to turn into warm and nourishing soups and stews.
And when we have gathered as much as we can from our gardens, Mark and Cohen and I take long walks through the woods, collecting all sorts of wild edible mushrooms.
And yesterday, I am proud to announce, that my dear friend Lana Marie and I found our first cauliflower mushroom, a rare coral fungus almost too beautiful to eat.
Well, I must be off now, for I have been writing so long that the fire has gone out. Time to rekindle the flames and to put the kettle on. Yes, it is good to be home.
Blessings from the Honey Grove Hearth,
Nao, Mark, Gus and All at Honey Grove