To me the Midwest is a vast collection of things to be found, discovered. Nested here and there are oddities, and jewels born of interest, passion and necessity. The landscape so open that the face of time is written clearly across its surface.
In rural areas in particular old and new sometimes stand side by side; the modern neighborhood and the crumbling barn left to natures devices. While urban centers such as Chicago provide vibrate and eclectic experiences. And while I am quite thankful to live in relatively close proximity to an urban environment I have found myself growing increasingly captivated by the eclectic collage of the rural landscape that I now live in the midst of. It is this possibility for discovery that has helped me fall in love with where we live; the numerous little places that can be come upon, the barn that can be photographed from the side of the road, the endless sky that illuminates an unending path.
This new Friday series will be a place for exploring some of these happened upon places, these finds.
For my first installment I am sharing one of my absolute favorites, a slice of heaven on earth to me, Angelic Organics, in Caledonia, Illinois. They are an organic farm and CSA (community supported agriculture)with a great learning center where they offer a wide variety of classes and resources.
This is my first year as a CSA shareholder and I am smitten, but beyond the fresh organic food, u-pick garden and inspiring community loft I have fallen in love with the well grounded peace of this place.
As I am a half-shareholder, I pick up a box of fresh produce every other Wednesday, June through October. This pick-up has become a kind of pilgrimage for me and my dear friend Jillian, who encouraged me to join with her. On these mid-week days we meet at the farm to pick up our glorious boxes, we stow them safely in our cars and then head out to the u-pick garden. My thirty toes tag along with us, running, hopping, sometimes being carried and then we all gather up just a little bit more. Perhaps the best part is simply being among the plants, hands getting just a little dirty, hearts filling.
It is a place that invites experience, I must linger. I love seeing my children in the natural world, that experience is, to me, one of the most important I can offer them. These are different wilds than I grew up in and I learn new depths through their eyes.
I exhale when I come to this place. It is like stepping outside and stepping in at the same time.
And there is art, and there are messages. Pieces of this and that collected and placed, none of it expected, and that is the best part.
An organic farm with an artistic flair, that is about heaven to me.