Nature has always played a big role in my life. I am a collector! My Stone Age ancestry doesn’t deny itself.
My whole family consists of gatherers. In my childhood, we would go for walks and bring home flower sprouts for the garden, which my mother stole in other people´s gardens (– because to her it was sharing the beauty – without asking though!), chestnuts, fallen leaves, flowers to put in vases, flowers to press, stones, fossils, belemnites and sea glass!
Sea glass is actually a concept! I love sea glass! I still collect it every time I am on the beach. I sometimes forget to look up and gaze out over the ocean and enjoy the view. I bend forward, I search and I collect! The joy of finding a rare color, a funny shape, an especially beautiful piece! I have passed on the legacy to my daughters, my husband and my husband´s sons. We battle over finding the first piece, the most and the best! We collect and sort them when we get home. We fill mason jars with the white, the green, the lighter green, the bluish ones etc.
I do realize that essentially we are gathering trash. Left-overs from people´s neglect at the beach. Remnants of picnics, broken bottles! But it is beautiful that something potentially dangerous – broken glass, through the wear and tear of the water and the sand turns into a gem! That must be the essence of upcycling!
Meeting my husband opened my eyes to another aspect of nature – hunting for mushrooms! His family has done it for generations and near the West coast of Jutland in Denmark, where he comes from, the chanterelles are especially abundant. It really makes sense deep in my bones to hunt for food in nature! It is scary how my primitive Stone Age background peeks out and plays a role. The feeling of victory uncovering a large group of big orange chanterelles is unsurpassed! Going home, gathering around the basket filled with the bounty, cleaning the chanterelles together whilst talking is quintessential of being a united family! The taste of autumn and terroir in the meal we share afterwards is priceless!
I think it is a wonderful lesson for the kids to learn to find beauty in nature! Combing two families like we have done is a difficult feat to say the least! But if I have given anything to my stepsons, it is opening their eyes to treasure hunting on the beach! They are unable to walk past a piece of sea glass, and likewise, Thomas has given me and my girls a renewed love of and purpose with walks in woods! We are unable to look up, we hunt!
What traditions have unified your family? Did your childhood and background influence your family – or did your partner’s?
Thank you for reading – please share your thoughts.