I gave some consideration to writing about the first day of this two-day event, The Garden Fair at Sotterley Plantation, with the objective voice of a journalist. Let me admit that it was a passing thought of three seconds. There is no way I can attempt to write of Sotterley and this event in an objective manner, because of the deep connection I feel for this place, the absolute gratitude I have for all who make things happen on her behalf, and the tremendous joy this first day has carried.
There was an ease on the breeze! Everyone I had the opportunity to speak with today was filled with sunshine, smiles, and a lightness of spirit. As I strolled the magnificently groomed grounds - stopping along the way to chat with fellow staff, Board of Trustee members, the mighty force of Sotterley Volunteers, the Sotterley Garden Guild, Artisans, Presenters, Vendors, and multitudes of visitors - I was struck by the beauty. Sotterley is always beautiful, whether her gardens are in full bloom or she's under two feet of snow. The beauty I write of has more to do with a symphonic flow of goodness, engaging all of the senses.
Sotterley is a non-profit organization which received the distinction of being a National Historic Landmark at the turn of the century. She is part of out history, part of our today, and hopefully part of our future. She belongs to all of us. And today, all enjoyed the belonging.
To see children running along the front lawn flying kites, playing hide-and-seek among the gigantic ginger jar bushes, petting baby goats born just last night, learning about toys before the barrage of video games and beyond, choosing something to plant in the garden at their homes, and learning about why The Necessary was (and is) so necessary. Holding hands, one couple scoped out the site for their upcoming wedding and I overheard them sharing their vision. Parents were making birdhouses with their children and giggling like children. Artists would stop mid-brushstroke to share about their artwork. Post-lecture, many discussed what they learned with hopes of applying it. Garden Guild members not only sold plants, but offered sound advice.
And there was laughter. This is the magic of an extraordinary day in the history of an extraordinary place.
See you tomorrow (I hope!) at The Garden Fair at Sotterley Plantation!