At Bear Creek Farm, we nurture (natural) beauty from the ground up. Perhaps an unstated extension of that ethos is our wish to cultivate (personal) beauty from the inside out. Indeed, we see nature as a vast tapestry for personal inspiration, and human connection.
This is perhaps the main reason we offer workshops to teach those who want to get outside or learn to grow flowers regardless of prior experience. Nature is restorative. It is a connective fabric intimately linking humans to one another within the sweep of nature. It lifts us out of ourselves. When one immerses fully in nature it can be a sort of friend – trees whisper, moonshine spools seemingly out from the earth like a night-time ground cover. Still, the pace of life many engage is fast. People trying to keep up get lonely. Sometimes we miss one another as humans.
People in all demographics (parents, adolescents, the elderly) are learning to reconnect as we emerge from COVID-19. The social distance we were forced to adopt during the past several years has taken hold. Our task now is to carefully and respectfully dismantle it. Learning to be together again is not just grabbing a coffee in the car. The natural neural pathways need to be gently reshaped. Things like day-long, nature-based workshops are doable and why we host them – dahlias, peonies.
I have been thinking about this for several days now. The seed of this thought grew out of a conversation with a friend who was talking about the particular difficulties associated with modulating work/life balance during this particular phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. “No one wants to say it - everyone is sick of it – but as far as parenting, in a lot of ways this part of the pandemic (no rules) is the worst,” she said. “I wish I had time to do something for myself – something real. And don’t tell me to get a massage. That doesn’t count. I’d have to be on that table for weeks.” She then went on to explain how, between scaffolding the remnants of the friendships of her children, tending her marriage, the social/emotional/academic needs of children raised in a pandemic, together with work, aging parental care, shopping, cooking, and laundry – she was lonely.
She explained that her parent peers have long since stopped prioritizing themselves, understanding that deeply rooted friendships and family relationships hold. Still, she described missing friends and family, a sense of guilt at not being there for people she loved (for those with parents who died, for those with children who struggled) - and a sense of isolation. She sang the praises of texting as a way to remain connected but recognized the irony.
Reminding me that she had no flower experience, she asked whether she could sign up for a dahlia workshop with a friend. “We kind of just want to actually take a break together, and maybe finish a conversation – even make something nice. Or try.” Of course, I said yes. I think the idea of interpersonal reconnection based upon nature is a beautiful idea. At Bear Creek Farm, we have always recognized this, which is why we offer a 10% discount to each person when two people sign up to attend a workshop together. Consider inviting someone away for a day. It just may be the reset you both need.