At times it is hard for me to believe I have resided in North Carolina for more than twenty years. What initially drew me to Union County, NC, was the presence of small churches, family farms, and winding roads through beautiful, untouched areas of nature. I laugh at the memory of realizing most of the roads at the time were named after either the churches or the farmers who were established along these roads. One was even named after a preacher’s daughter.
I live off one of those roads named after a family farm. I have loved walking down these roads and seeing the chickens, hearing the cows give birth, and even seeing the goats who got their heads stuck in the fences due to their curiosity. There is an abundance of corn, turnips, and soybean fields. I cannot even tell you how many times I have either run or walked along this road, no matter the time of year. I have come to really appreciate the changing seasons from being in such proximity to this land.
Last year it was lovely to see corn planted in the spring and soybean in the late summer. I absolutely love the color of soybeans in the late fall with their golden leaves shimmering in the sunshine.
Things here, like everywhere else, have changed over time. Some parcels of the farm now have houses. I assumed the houses belonged to the descendants of the farmers. This year there was no corn crop. The chickens, goats, and most of the cows are gone. I still find beauty though. The fields are still abundant with Eastern Bluebirds, hawks, owls, and vultures. And so many species of fireflies.
I admit, there is a small place in my heart that grieves the many changes, although there is still such beauty in the rolling hills.
So, it really delighted my heart when I saw a small parcel of land for sale being planted in mid-July. I naturally assumed that soybean had been planted due to the time of the season. I watched intently as the crop began to grow. I realized soon enough that it was not soybean, due to the increasing height of the plants. Then, in late August, it blew me away to finally discover what had been planted. It was a field of sunflowers!
My heart smiled every time I went by this field. People of all ages stopped to be with this bright field of happy faces. Children ran into the rows of flowers, others stopped to take pictures. I told all my friends who live close by to come over and spend time with the flowers, honeybees, and other pollinators that gathered in this place.
I am deeply grateful to the person who planted this field of flowers.
This experience taught me powerful lessons. First, to never forget to appreciate what is right in front of me. Second, to pay attention and acknowledge the condition of my heart. I ask myself, “How am I really feeling?” After answering this question, I ask, “What do I need to support myself as fully as possible today?” Currently, I have promised myself to do small things that bring a smile to my face daily as the season turns more towards Autumn.
As the season continues to change, I hope you will also care for your heart and find a moment of joy and beauty each day.