Yesterday I took a long walk just to regain some balance in mind and body. I have had trouble focusing my energy and my dogs seemed just as restless as I did, so we took off and found an out of the way, wild area with a thick bank of trees and birds, that I had never seen before. Cardinals were swooping in and out of the branches of shrubs just beginning to show their spring blossoms, and a cobalt sky with complete silence all around us seemed like balm for the soul.
As I looked down to see how my dogs were faring, I noticed what looked like a four leaf clover patch and thought I would find one to take home. We could all use a little luck right now! But looking closer, I found the leaves were too large for clover, but the little patch looked so familiar..... I stepped on it and heard the familiar "crunch" of alfalfa under my shoe.
I grew up behind a huge matrix of fields in Kansas where we spent our childhood days filling jars up with lady bugs, and playing hide and seek and Marco Polo in the shoulder high wheat. Some days we would walk out to the center of the field to find the old, graceful Cottonwood tree with branches that spread out for us to climb up with our metal lunch boxes and eat, sometimes sitting in the tree reading a book until dinner. It was freedom, and making our own fun out of days that stretched out like those Kansas fields.
We often took walks out in the field behind our house, westward, heading out to a line of cedar trees on the horizon. It was on these walks that we would crunch through the alfalfa. We would make a game out of it to see who could make the most noise as we walked. If you have ever smelled the scent of alfalfa, it has a sweet, spicy, pungent odor, that smells like puffy, flat-bottomed clouds in a blue, Kansas sky.
So I picked a handful and crushed the leaves in my fist, wondering if I would recognize the scent of my childhood . It hit me like a wave - a visceral sensation of images, feelings, and home- circa 1978- that came rushing back in an instant as I stood there with my dogs, breathing in a handful of alfalfa, 40-some years later.
I pocketed it and made my husband and daughter smell what I told them was a fistful of my childhood.
So today, an ode to alfalfa and our unique memories that lay in hearts, silent until awoken and presented as a gift to our spirit. May each of us use this time to hold onto a fistful of what is dear to our hearts and remember who we are, where we come from, and what we truly love, becoming a better version of ourselves. A more grounded, kinder, forgiving people, who find the confidence and hope to look forward to a better world tomorrow.