A Harvest of Healing: Love Beyond Our Plates

Oct 01, 2019

Photograph by Annie Spratt

Lamenting seasonal transition, with all of its ‘letting go’ can also be a reminder of its gifts and what is most important to harvest


Do you feel it?

She is slipping away and gently guiding us to something new; new foods, new routines, new ideas. We are embraced with cooler temperatures, leaves float down from the trees — and I take in a big exhale. Each fall I feel as if I put another notch in my belt of experience as a business owner. My inner self shrieks, You did it! Way to go girl! With another monumental summer season behind us, I try to sit back and bask in its glory as it slowly fades away to memory.

Yes, it was a glorious one, full of more splendor that I can even recount in a single blog — but it’s not all about the sunny days and blue skies. It’s the most precious thing that happens and emerges every year that I want to talk about: healing.

In the hustle of life and summer it’s so easy to forget all there is to be grateful for.

The summer in the restaurant business (and especially in a seasonal touristy town) is fueled by an undercurrent of constant adrenaline: Did we order enough food? Do we have enough staff on the schedule? Are we ready for the holiday weekend rush? Is it going to rain? Even with the best-laid plans, there are twists and turns, ebbs and flows…just as in life.

I also get a bit nostalgic around this time of year because not only is there transition in the air, there is real transition in the restaurant. Summer guests return home and summer staff heads back to school. Wait! Don’t go. I don’t want to let go of any of you. Yes, I get a bit attached and quite maternal to all who pass through, whether for a meal or a season. Truthfully, like a mama bear, particularly with my staff, I’m excited to see my cubs go out into the world and pursue their own life dreams.

But back to healing.

Recently, I had a moment to simply sit in the café and look around, to observe what ‘we’ have created — to take it all in. And yes, I consider this a ‘we’ — me, you, my staff, the farmers who grow our food, the gardeners who fluff our outdoor space, my fellow business owners etc. It’s a village effort. Thank you for being a part of mine.

I was recounting to my business manager which staff members was leaving and I sighed. It was a good summer…and much magic occurred within our walls. I’m not going to sit here on my vegan soap box and spew the benefits of a plant-based diet on people and the planet (you already know about that). No, this goes deeper. It is about the grace of connection — the friendships that blossom and the love that grows like the gentle flowers we tend to all summer.

I feel proud of the way we form a family. Trust me, it’s not always the easiest thing to navigate and some business owners certainly don’t like to mix business and personal. But I don’t know how to not care and love my staff up. And when I see a staff member leave after a summer here, transformed and fortified…I know that magical Garden Café work was underfoot. I witness much healing. I see expansion. I watch individuals bloom into their own beauty. And you know what? That means more to me than cash in the bank.

We have the ability to sprinkle our love into everything we do.

Here at the café, it’s in the food, it’s in the service, the ambiance, the energy that built and continues to maintain the restaurant. It is served up on a plate and hopefully it fills all who come.

Some of my favorite comments are from customers who either didn’t know we are a vegan restaurant when they came in or tell me things like, this is my favorite restaurant and I’m not even a vegan.

We don’t have to label ourselves to feel love.

Imagine if we all let a little more love out and sprinkled it into all that we do. Don’t be afraid to stretch. Your heart has an enormous capacity to love…and you just never know what impact you will have on another.

So with these words I hope you feel my love and gratitude. Soon we will be cuddled in warm sweaters and sipping hot soups. Give yourself some space to reset. Fall is a moment of harvest — harvest your summer memories, joy and love. Languish in it and be still.

As I let go of summer, I embrace a beloved annual tradition with my daughter, True. After the summer frenzy we head to the ocean for a week of inhales and exhales, sea breezes and board games. My nervous system settles down and I think about you all. Aaaah, life is good.

Thanks for being a part of my healing.

May we collectively continue to find ways over and over and over to share it with others. That’s a true harvest of healing.


What are you harvesting dear friend…share how this resonates with you and where life finds you in the comments below.

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