By Kari Miller – A Rocha Manitoba Summer Worker
Woods rose. Meadow Anemone. Canada’s Violet. Common Yarrow. Dame’s Rocket. Harebell. Western Red Lily. Prairie Cornflower. Black-eyed Susan. Milkweed. Yellow Evening Primrose.
These wildflowers catch me off guard as I have walked through the Assiniboine forest and different paths in Winnipeg. I did not expect to see them, yet the bright pink petals of the woods rose in the sea of green is difficult not to notice. I took time to appreciate this unexpected flower, a gift one might say, and was grateful for it’s presence.
Many unexpected changes have happened in this past season. Some were beautiful and welcome, like the encounter with the wild rose. Some changes were more difficult and took time to adjust to. As the A Rocha MB summer team came together, I was super excited to work alongside Zoe, Scott, Jubilee, and Justin, knowing I had much to learn from this wise group of people. I had big dreams to be a part of a powerful team. Yet we were not able to be present to each other as I had anticipated. Instead of working in a communal space, we spent our days in our respective homes, connecting over the phone or zoom for short spurts of time.
Initially I was quite disappointed. How were we going to cultivate a sense of team when everyone felt so separate? Though this change was difficult, I was surprised by the intentionality of the people I work with and a desire to connect. Soon, daily zoom meetings became a time to reconnect and touch base. Sharing lame elephant jokes and weird moments (such as a duck in a tree) became common. We savoured in-person meetings and team building activities, knowing our time together was limited. Though we could not be together for the entire work day, the few times a week we spent together we did with great intentionality.
These moments of connection were unexpectedly delightful to me. Just as the wood rose was so beautiful, scarcely separated amidst the sea of green grass, so our connecting as a team came as beautiful, unexpected gifts that we could not miss. As I look back at the spring months, I am grateful for these wildflower moments, no matter how small they came or how fast they disappeared. Robin Wall Kimmerer, an ecologist who wrote the book Braiding Sweetgrass, says “We are showered everyday with gifts, but they are not meant for us to keep. Their life is in their movement, the inhale and the exhale of our shared breath. Our work and our joy is to pass along the gift and to trust that what we put out into the universe will always come back.”
As we go forward into a season of day camp, our team will change and grow once again. My prayer for this new season is to continue to acknowledge and be grateful for the gift of the wildflower moments.
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