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134 Main Street East
Stewiacke, NS, B0N 2J0
Canada

902-805-9340

I have 'connected the dots' between awareness, movement, intuition and creativity to enhance the daily lives of people in my community. 

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Wellbeing Blog

Musings and interesting info on wellbeing.

Explorations at the Roadside Veggie Stand

Terry Stanislow

There I was - sporting my WOW! face - staring at THE most impressive Purslane I had ever seen, engrossed in a conversation about organic farming, glyphosate, gassed tomatoes . . .  and more.

This summer, on a weekly trip to the Annapolis Valley, I have been stopping at this little roadside stand to grab a few organic treats on the way home.  It's a sweet spot, with plenty of room to park and turn back onto the busy road and it's got 'curb-appeal', with a hobbit-like enclave, an umbrella-covered market stand and a sign clearly reading 'organic'.  First discovered on a drive with my sister, we just had to check it out!

Like many of the produce stands that are now scattered around the countryside, the seasonal vegetables are displayed in the shade or sun, depending on the variety.  At one place discovered last fall, pumpkins, squashes, turnips and potatoes were in fun, brightly-painted wheelbarrows.  Price tags range from markers-on-tape  to more elaborate affairs and there is usually a box or slot in the tabletop to deposit the cash.  For some time, I've been intrigued by the honour-based retail mechanism.  Recently, I had the opportunity to gain some very informative and hilarious insight!

This stand always features a few of my favorites,  fresh and ready to be turned into something delicious at the end of my long travel day.  On my most recent visit, I pulled up to find the farmer on-hand, puttering around at daily stand maintenance, moving stock from the upper garden down to the retail area.  I wondered if he would be interested to say hi and have a chat, but I didn't wonder for long.  He was so outgoing, happy to meet, provide a tour of the garden, talk about all things organic and the logistics of running a roadside market.  It was on the tour that I was introduced to that very impressive Purslane, and so pleased to be invited to 'take as much as you like'.  He told me that he had wrapped up a very full career in a professional engineering sector and upon retiring from that, being a person who likes to 'work with my hands and create things', took on the challenge of turning the hillside property into a terraced, organic market garden.

He seemed to have all the time in the world just then and I was in no rush, so after we covered the obvious topics, we sequed into a broader discussion that included our mutual passion for the simple Italian approach to eating, describing a couple of our favorite dishes.  Just when I thought I had occupied more than my share of a working farmers' day and should be moving on to allow his completion of early evening chores, another customer came by, picked out her selections, said a quick hello, and zoomed off.

When I had arrived and was establishing my financial situation, I discovered that I had no bills and of course, no debit function available, so ended up raiding my change purse and borrowing from the 'bridge-fare' slot on the dash.  My entire cash resource of $6.75 went a long way at his low prices, not to mention a couple of 'gift' items.  As we put huge, voluptuous tomatoes, fragrant basil, bright nasturtium flowers, omega-packed purslane, black kale and parsley  into my container, I had to ask - "how is this really working out?  At the end of the day - does the outgoing produce match up with the cash in?" 

The answer was a categorical "yes".  Most of it is straightforward, but there is a small post-it pad and pencil on the table that customers use to register exceptions.  They often drop 'I.O.U.s' into the slot, intending to settle their outstanding debt on the next visit.   But, the funniest item was this:  He said he also gets 'U.O.Me's' from folks who only have bills and are owed change.  They will use their credit for produce on the next visit!  I had to laugh and was absolutely charmed by this engaging farmer/philosopher/social experimenter and the entire operation.  He said he gets other odd notes as well from people wanting to say how very much they appreciate his little market stand - and other 'interesting' topics.   He called it his 'social experiment' and I thought - what a surprisingly appropriate place to conduct such a study!

Well, I'm still traveling that route regularly, so will continue to pop in as long as he is open for business.  I'm looking forward to many more weeks of fresh fare and, if we happen to meet up again - more interesting conversation on the site of this particular retail modality:

"Please Insert Payment Into Slot on Tabletop
Thank You (Smiley Face)”

 

 

Our Expressive Practice as Mindful Self-Exploration

Terry Stanislow

YouandtheSun.jpg

Whenever we set aside dedicated time and space to express ourselves, from the source of our own creativity, in any form - that act provides an opportunity for introspecting, meditating, pondering, processing, concluding, wondering . . .   Whatever you call it – the time we take to pause, leave the outside world 'out there', and focus for awhile on an idea or theme or concept that we desire to express, we get to know ourselves and how we relate to the world around us – a little more each time.  In this case,  making a picture, even a very simple collage or journal page, not only provides that opportunity while we are engaged in it, but also – every time we view or experience our creation, we are placed back in the frame of exploration that manifested it in the first place, invoking the insights and emotions all over again.  It's kind of like looking at a photo from the past, except – we didn't snap the image or idea in a split second.  It evolved mindfully and with purpose, exploration, research and introspection.

This picture was not meant for a gallery, but just as a personal, process piece.  It's an exploration done for myself that I am sharing to illustrate this concept.  In this case, my eye caught the quote "You and the Sun – this tricky relationship can work", and I thought – yes, I DO have a tricky relationship with the sun, don’t I?  What is THAT about?  Why don't I stop right now and do a collage of this?!   I LOVE a sunny day, but I do not like to be IN the bright, hot sun.  I never have.  I used to go to the beach with friends, and while they were laying about in their bathing suits, baking away the afternoon, I was sitting under the shade of an umbrella, with my big hat, sunglasses, ankle-length skirt or dress, sleeves – reading a book or just enjoying my reveries.  I love to be in my bright, sunny studio because – the light beams through my opaque blinds except on one end – that is never in direct sun – where I can look out of the wide windows onto the paddock and horses.  It's the best of both worlds.   I guess I'm like a Boston Fern – I need lots of indirect light!  In summer, I do my indoor work during the day and start my outdoor chores around the barn in the evening.

Then, I thought – my favorite time of day is sunset.  I just adore it.  I think I would adore the sunrise as well, but I'm never up in the wee hours, so – sunset it is!  I began to ponder what it is that I so love about that glorious time of day.  The QUIET.  The world becomes so peaceful when the 'people' noises like lawnmowers, music and traffic settle down.  Later, the calls of peepers and night birds will be a different sort of aural experience – calming and beguiling.  The colours and the sky.  The light is wonderful at sunset – soft and kind and flattering to everything.  The sky is different every evening, often blazing with a mix of oranges, reds and yellows that only nature can render.  The air becomes cooler and fresh as the damp begins to creep in – no longer kept at bay by the suns's rays.  Sunset is when I do my spontaneous meditations and sometimes I often do a little Qigong or sun salutations at that time, while I listen to the horses munching their evening meal.  I believe - most people say 'welcome' to the morning sun with theirs, but I say 'good night' – thanks and see you tomorrow! 

I thought about all of that while I had fun scanning and clipping bits for this piece, and I spent the next few hours thinking about my relationship with the sun.  It's crucial of course, being the original source of all life, warmth, light and more.  But, I can't go 'all in'.  I'll go out there when it's necessary, wearing my hat, making as much shade as I can for my face and eyes - so sensitive to the bright light - but I will really treasure my sunsets and – dare I say it – overcast days!  Every time I see this picture, I'll think about that again – the way I felt when making it and whether I have gained any new insights since.  THAT's what I'm talkin' about!