By Katerina Mesesan, Community Fellow
Writing these blogs does not come naturally to me.
I wasn’t the kid who had a diary and wrote down my thoughts, feelings and dreams. Instead, I channeled my thoughts and feelings into physical activity - going outside, playing sports and releasing all that pent up energy. Being able to be physical is something I don’t take for granted, and being physically able to farm again this year in my Community Action Year placement at Augusta Health has been extremely therapeutic for me.
During my time away from AMI - between the Farm and Food Study and Community Action Year - I went back to California to be with my family. The visit was equal parts grounding and stressful. The grounding came in the form of coming back to my roots, to be back where I grew up and to see friends that know a different Katerina than the one I shared on the mountain. The stress came in many forms, but one of the most unexpected and jarring was being unable to be physically active outside. I went from being in a beautiful setting every day, on a mountain, hiking, farming, being in nature, to working 9 to 10 hours a day on a computer inside for my job with my city’s Public Health Department.
Here is a picture of one of my last days on the farm. For me, this picture is beautiful and paints feelings of satisfaction after a long hard day's work. On this day, we harvested crops for our last CSA, cohort member Lyla and I assembled and put together one of our caterpillar tunnels, and we hiked to the top of the mountain for a wonderful dinner by the fire. My body was buzzing, sore, tired - it felt so connected to my spirit, to the little kid who couldn’t sit still, whose body was telling her that it needed to move. This sunset evokes the ease of being able to move.
I don’t take the ability to move for granted. My brother’s disability limits his mobility and motor skills. I enjoy challenging my body as a way to honor my brother, who is unable to do so. This Fellowship has been an invaluable reminder to me to honor my body, not only through the food I grow, prepare and eat, but in connecting to movement and being outside. When my time as a Fellow with AMI ends, I will actively work to hold these values tight, listen to my body, farm with friends and move.