When a move required I leave behind a perennial garden I had worked hard to create while living in Illinois, I snipped off a few seed heads and tucked them into glass jars. While living in Colorado, I collected pine cones from the trees in my yard and placed them into jars as well. I put these collections around my home, reminding me of the places I had lived and loved.
The prickly seed heads of the Sweet Gum tree were added while living in Georgia. Without fully realizing it, I was bringing the natural world with me to each of my new homes. While I couldn't actually bring the pines from the mountains of Colorado or the trees from the hardwood forests of Georgia, each with a distinct flavor I had grown to love, I could bring parts of them with me. Tucked into jars, triggering memories of the natural world in a place I had once called home.
Far from my real home of Michigan I traveled, following my husband's job as we criss-crossed the country. When I traveled back to Michigan each summer, I collected rocks from the shore of Lake Huron or driftwood from the shore of Lake Michigan, reminding me of my childhood and allowing me to savor those memories within the context of the natural world.
The dream reminded me that I will soon be moving again. It is hard to move. To fall in love with a place and its people and to start again. I have already collected my memories from where I am living now. Sea glass, rocks and seashells from the shore of Long Island Sound. My time spent in nature is what connects me to place and these things I gather from the natural world, allow me to maintain that connection as I move forward, discovering new vistas along the way.