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New Life

by Mary-Ellen Garner, AMI 2017-2018 Fellow

Growing up in Florida, I have never really understood the concept of spring. The change of season was merely a repetitious string of words that we learned to recite: summer, fall, winter, spring, summer, fall, winter, spring… the cycle of a year summed into one looping phrase. Growing up in such seasonal monotony, I remember feeling the urge to experience the change of seasons, to be able to watch as time changes green leaves to brilliant hues of gold, deep red, and crisp orange, and to feel the snow as it melts on my skin as the sun makes way for new life.

This past year has been my first full year experiencing the whole range of seasons. I gleefully watched as summer cooled to autumn, froze to winter, and now, has warmed to spring. In each season there is a palpable progression of life. And in spring, more than any other season, there is an incredible amount of new life.

This spring, AMI and the mountain are blossoming again with a new group of fellows, a group in which I find myself a part. Each of us has come with our own past experiences and interests. Though our paths may begin and end differently, we find ourselves inextricably linked in the present, in this new life we are collectively living.

We are the young plants, just started, searching for the sun, ready to expend the necessary time and energy to grow and flourish in this new place.

We are the baby birds, hungry to learn and to develop and to take flight.

We are new buds on the tree and bulbs from the ground, no longer dormant, but springing forth with intention and great desire to feel the sun’s warmth once again.

It is an exciting time to be alive and to be here in this place, where so many people are invested in our success. It is a wonderful feeling to be nurtured and trained by so many talented staff, guests, and by each other. In our third week on the farm, it now feels like spring has finally made its debut. I now understand the romance of spring and have come in accordance with the many that prioritize spring as a favorite season.

I came across a quote by Ellis Peters that captures the essence of this time of life. It states: “Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.”

As we continue to progress in our work here, it is my hope that we continue to be astonished by the energy that new life gives, even when the novelty of it may wear off. Even when the future seems uncertain or hazy, may we remember that we are here in this place for a reason, and that this new life has the energy to sustain us year-round.

photo: Elora Overbey

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