From a very young age I have known that we human beings have a soul-deep need to be connected to nature, and that when this connection is broken, our spirit suffers.
Growing up in a rural town in Illinois, I spent hour-upon-hours playing in the country-side. Adventure-filled days were followed by magical summer evenings listening to the whippoorwill’s ethereal call as fireflies lit up the night.
Just before my 8th birthday our family moved to Massachusetts. Our new home was an apartment in a tenement in the city. Gone were the golden fields and the call of the whippoorwills. They were replaced by broken slabs of asphalt and the nightly sounds of sirens. Gone were the fireflies – replaced by neon lights that lit up the night. I was overwhelmed with homesickness for the natural world.
But Nature will always find a way to restore the spirit. Beside the stoop of our apartment building, courageously busting its way through the asphalt, grew a hearty Catalpa tree. That tree was my sanctuary; it kept me connected to the natural world that my waning spirit so missed. The Catalpa grew mighty out of that sterile ground, reaching its way to the second floor of the tenement. The leaves, as big as dinner plates, provided perfect shelter on a hot summer day when I escaped upward into the arms of the Catalpa. There amongst all that earthy smelling green, my spirit was restored.
It is this same soul-deep need for a connection to nature that brought me to Manomet 33 years ago. It is a need to smell the scent of flowers and to see their delicious color splashed across a thirsty earth and to feel the warmth of soil in my hands. And it is a deep desire to nurture and protect this natural world, and to share it with others, however I can, that inspired me to become certified as a Master Gardener.
In addition to my Master Gardener role, it is my greatest privilege to be the Operations Manager at Manomet and have the opportunity to provide support to all the amazing staff that are the heart and soul of Manomet and who make it such a unique organization.
When not at work at Manomet, well, I’m still doing the same things – listening to birds, digging in the dirt, and hanging out with amazing people who love the earth. And even, occasionally, climbing a tree.