What makes us happy? It’s an almost indefinable feeling, and yet we can name it when it describes us. And we all have different things that contribute to us feeling that way. This photo makes me ridiculously happy. Actually let me re-phrase that: this photo describes an action that made me so happy it made me want to write about it (which is because I want to share it – for me, my happiness is never complete unless I’ve shared it).
Earlier, I picked and gathered all of the things in the photo (plus some beetroot and spinach that didn’t quite make it into the shot). How many different things can you see? The figs, grapes and tomatoes came from our garden and everything else came from my allotment or the hedgerows next to it. And I just love it. I love the variety that came from being outside for a mere 45 minutes. Mostly I love the colours. So many gorgeous colours: purple, black, green, red and yellow, all mixed together. An abundance, shining in the September sun. Harvesting them lifted my spirits and put me in a crazily good mood. A trip around the supermarket buying the same produce just wouldn’t have done the same thing. Why has it had this effect on me?
Is it because I love food and know that the freshest things taste the best? I’ll be making so many delicious things from what is in this photo, pleasing myself and bringing pleasure to others too. Or is it because it ticks my health boxes? I love a colourful plate and know that it will do my body such a lot of good in so many different ways as I eat the colours of the rainbow. Or is it because it’s free? Let’s face it, I can’t get away from my Jewish blood, and getting something for free always brings a definite sense of satisfaction…
I wonder more, though, if it’s because it has connected me in a very real way to the land that I’m a part of? The soil that God so graphically formed us from is the ‘adamah, hence why the Hebrew Scriptures call us ‘adam, perhaps better translated, ‘earth creatures’ or ‘earthy ones’. I am an earth-girl, made to co-exist with the world around me, created with an innate desire to do things that bring me into deep connection with that world. As I spend time on my knees or reaching up high, digging, watering, harvesting, getting soil and blackberry juice under my fingernails there is something in me that responds. I can’t help it and I never thought it would be this way, but there it is.
So I hope this picture might bring you a bit of happiness too as autumn sets in and we find ourselves surrounded by her bounties. And maybe it might encourage you, too, to get outside and find your own way of connecting with the earth from which you have been formed.