Casey arrived Monday night. She was two hours late, pulling down the drive at 11:30. Although exhausted, I couldn’t hold this against her. The Northern Neck is a hard place to get to.
Casey is my first WWOOFer and my expectations are low. The “woofers” work on organic farms for free room and board and are notoriously filled with energy and passion.
But I’m jaded. I’ve watched that energy turn to resentment and the passion fizzle in the summer humidity.
Tuesday morning we spent harvesting, the crates filling with tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and peppers. It was a short work day but I was surprised to see her back in the flower field that afternoon. I watched from the front porch as she gently scooped up insect specimens.
Later we sat at the dining room table eating dinner and talking bugs. She’d spent a summer as an intern at the Smithsonian in the Coleoptera collection. She showed me a picture of her mounting board. Her knowledge of bugs was fascinating. My heart soared.
For me, bugs are everything. They are my fondest memories of childhood. Out all afternoon, collecting, inspecting, never tiring of new colors and shapes. Trying to learn how to pin them without crushing abdomens or tearing off legs.
When I first began harvesting a few years ago, I couldn’t stay on task. My fascination with bugs overwhelmed everything.
Things have changed. I harvest quickly. I rarely have time to stand in a field and simply gaze.
Casey was back in the field this morning. Two young boys, Sam and Ben, joined us. The conversation quickly turned to crickets, beetles, spiders. Sam caught a Tiger Beetle, one that Casey didn’t have in her collection. We all stopped to inspect it.
My jadedness softened as I remembered the joy of being transported to another world, one that is always alive and moving, right at our feet. I am so grateful that Casey has come to stay and hope that a little more gazing is in my future.