Leaps of faith: Spring, summer and kindness

Farmer’s market season opened today, and I was there, not particularly because I needed any produce but just on principle. Our local farmer’s market is a community gathering place, a neighborhood pub for summer Saturday mornings. It’s not summer yet, of course, but being there on opening day is a gesture of faith that someday it will be.

Truth be told, today barely felt like spring—or at least not the spring we look forward to each year. It’s been rainy here and chilly, which is actually very spring-like and not at all enticing. Making up for the weather was the opportunity to have my own personal farmer’s market breakfast of champions: fresh donuts and cheese curds. Yum. Add a little coffee, and I’m set for the day.

We bought extras of both curds and donuts today because we have new neighbors who have not yet experienced this farmer’s market, and we want them to love it as we do. So my husband delivered donuts and cheese curds to their door just moments ago. That’s a housewarming gift that says, “Welcome to the neighborhood.”

Usually I feel like I could be a better neighbor than I am. I’m not overtly social, and I tend to keep to myself. I like my neighbors but am bad at extending invitations and planning (or even participating in) neighborhood gatherings. I want to offer barbecues on the patio, but I’m afraid I won’t get my house clean in time to avoid being outed as the sloven I am. I  tend to shovel my neighbors’ sidewalks in the winter, though; I think that redeems me partially.

This housewarming gift is partly an attempt to do better in that regard, and partly just a gesture of kindness because we need more kindness in the world. I’m a believer in random acts of kindness, paying good will forward, and helping others. Beggars need the extra $1 bill in my wallet more than I do, and so I’m generally happy to give it to them. My neighbors aren’t beggars, but they’re my neighbors; we all need to look out for each other.

As for my husband and me, we added only asparagus to our shopping bag with the donuts and cheese curds this morning, so asparagus is on tonight’s menu. (I tend to steam asparagus and serve with nothing but butter and a little parmesan, but sometimes it gets sauteed into a somewhat more elaborate meal-in-a-skillet. When the weather is good, it might go on the grill; not today.) We passed up honey, lettuce, tulips and peonies (got ’em in my own garden!), live nursery plants and lots more. Today’s farmer’s market outing wasn’t about acquiring; it was simply a celebration of spring and the promise of summer. Much like opening day at the ballpark, but not nearly as cold, despite the rain.

Here are a few of the peonies, brought indoors to brighten this rainy day:

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