After weeks of resting well and looking at the four corners of my apartment, a good friend suggested we drive two hours to Lavender by the Bay in East Marion, New York. They have a booth in Union Square’s farmer’s market selling lavender bunches, dried lavender for cooking, lavender sachets and more. After reassuring the boyfriend the trip is mostly sitting in a car, walking around the fields for less than an hour and driving another two hours back to the city, my friend and I left Brooklyn one foggy, mild Thursday morning. We picked a weekday, because the crowds would’ve been too stressful for me (I’m not in the condition to stand in line). We also took a chance, because the weather stations predicted t-storms starting around 1 pm. We started our trip at 7:30 am, so we can return to the city before the heavy rains.
During our two hour drive, we talked about life and health before pulling into a pebble driveway entrance leading into a parking lot placed between a house and fields of lavender. The skies were hauntingly grey to forecast an impending storm. The smell of lavender refreshingly took our breath away. We walked between rows of lavender bushes with blooming tiny purple florets. Touching and smelling blossoms. Carefully avoiding giant and hairy bumble bees. We stood our distance as watched bees swarm around their beehives in the middle of the lavender fields.
The entrance fee to the lavender fields is eight dollars per person or it’s free with a purchase. Each of us brought one large lavender bouquet, in which the sales lady advised us to split them into three smaller bunches and hang them in a cool, dry area of our home to dry. My smaller three bunches now hang in our utility closet, and the soiled smell has been replaced with peaceful lavender (cleaning and organizing our utility closet is one of the many ‘to do’ apartment projects once I’m able to freely move around and lift heavy objects).
As we drove back to New York City, the sun suddenly appeared from behind the grey clouds to delay the storm. Intuitively knowing we didn’t have to race back home before the day started to rain, we stopped by a roadside stand for apple cider donuts, brought organic strawberries and zucchini flowers from Sang Lee Farms and found a seafood restaurant to lunch on a clam po-boy sandwich and a lobster special. It was a beautifully serene day, and it didn’t start to rain until early evening, a couple of hours before my friend drop me off at home.
After a couple days, I decided to make Strawberry Lavender Sorbet. The strawberries were pureed and strained. A lavender simple syrup was made. Then the liquids were combined and chilled in the refrigerator until cold. Afterwards, the mixture was placed into an ice cream maker to get slushy. At this stage, there were brief thoughts of adding tequila or vodka, until I remembered the heavy medication by body required. So, the soft sorbet was placed in a freezer to chill solid. The Boyfriend tasted it the following day, and he gave it a peaceful approval by eating most of it within two days.
Since the beginning of June, each week is a healing milestone. The hardest part of recovering is staying still, but I loved how reading in the mornings yielded to midday naps. Visiting the lavender fields was a welcome wake up sign to start moving more outside of my apartment. Besides my body’s temporary limitations, the beautifully serene smell of lavender encourage me to continue to take life slow.