Muscadines, Gloom, and the Healing Power of Sunshine

Muscadines planted alongside an old wooden fence.
Planting muscadines.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been sending my thoughts out here into the void that is the world wide web for a full two decades. But, here I am. Today officially marks the 20th anniversary of this blog.

When I wrote those first words, “Welcome to My Site,” all those years ago, I was still a kid who was trying to figure out his place in the world. On many days, I feel like I’m still that same young man—only a little grayer. This blog has grown along with me. As with my own life, it has had its ups and downs, but we’re still going.

I’ve been thinking about this anniversary for a long while. I even put a reminder on my calendar nearly a year ago so that I wouldn’t miss it. I suppose I always thought that I’d have something profound to share about the art of blogging when this day arrived. But, honestly? Nothing really came to mind.

I haven’t written much of late, at least outside of my day job. The ol’ blog here has taken a backseat to other projects in the past couple of months.

Before that, I was in a bit of a rut and not particularly motivated to do anything. My routine was pretty regular—wake up, work, play video games, watch TV, sleep, repeat.

The winter months had hit me hard. I wasn’t getting much fresh air and was at one of those low points in my personal life. Everything should have been going well. I was working a great job, had hit some financial goals not long before, and had celebrated a fun holiday season. Why was I so down?

I can be a man of extremes sometimes. There are months on end when I am super passionate about my extracurricular activities. Then, there are moments when I just can’t get the motivation to do much beyond the things I’m required to do to survive.

I’m always trying to find a balance between those two states. Like that kid from 20 years ago, I’m still a work in progress.

Several weeks back, I did something to get myself out of that gloomy state. It was fruit-tree planting season, one of my favorite times of the year. Even after buying a few trees from my ever-growing I-want-to-plant-this list, I wasn’t as excited as I had been in past seasons.

It wasn’t until I actually got outside and felt the dirt between my fingers and the sunshine on my face that I truly felt happy again. Somehow, everything felt right with the world. I was doing something that I was meant to be doing. I was connecting with nature once again. Our time apart had not gone well.

This year, I didn’t manage to get everything from the top of my list, but I got plenty. For fruit trees, I planted two apples, two cherries, and three persimmons. I added six blackberry bushes. And, after failing over and over to find some, my dad called to let me know he’d located one of plants I had wanted most: muscadines.

Since that first weekend out in the sunshine, I have made it a point to find more outdoor projects. At least for now, I’m feeling pretty balanced.

Well, truth be told, I’m a bit tired today. I hand-cleared out an old garden bed. So, I’ve got a few aches, scratches, and nicks, but I’m certain I’ll get a good night’s sleep. Today was a good day.

Maybe in another 20 years, I’ll be able to tell you all about being a farmer. We’ll see what the future holds.