Fiddleheads … the wonderful lovely little curled up baby ferns, why do you have such an impact on me?
Because you have been a part of ME since the beginning of time, I am sure of it. Did you ever wonder why you become interested in the things you do? Why is my path just that, MY path? Long before I was even thought of, somehow there was a presence and a love of nature that seems to have spread down my maternal grandfathers side of the family. I never got the chance to meet my Grandfather, he passed away when my mom was very young but that doesn’t mean that we were not connected. About 10 years ago we made the trip to Maine to meet up with that side of the family and I was blessed finally feel the connection. I met so many amazing souls, numerous Great Aunts, Uncles and Cousins and also my amazing Great Uncle Francis.
He instantly became a grandfather figure that I didn’t have on that side of the family and after our trip to Maine we wrote letter after letter to one another like clockwork for years. I still have each and every letter that he wrote to me, saving them and keeping them safe – this is history, MY history. It is what makes ME, me, without a doubt. We would always talk about the weather, his garden, things in nature, and most importantly his life and his life as a boy with my grandfather and their other siblings. I loved to hear the stories of scouting, exploring and the small details of growing up in Maine. We lost him and my Great Aunt a few years ago and my heart and my mailbox has never been the same. We lost the last of the brothers, that part of my history, just a few short weeks ago.
Fiddleheads were always something we would talk about. He would tell me stories about how they would go to an island near their home and gather them early in the spring. They would take them home, pickle them and eat them. I am not sure why, but this little tidbit of his childhood is something that warms my heart. As soon as I see those amazing plants begin to sprout it instantly fills me with memories of him and our letters. Every time I teach a school group about the baby ferns, he is right there, teaching them too.
One day when I am feeling strong I will review the letters, get them in order, marvel at how his handwriting looks like one of my aunts, and revisit the happiness that he brought to me. Until that time, somehow, someway he is there in those fiddleheads bringing me joy and hope, and to remind me that I am never alone …