The other Sunday after church, my husband, Neil (a realtor), went to go show houses, and I was home with our crew. The afternoon was filled with all the practical, domestic kinds of things going on: a toddler napping (such a gift to still have naps!), laundry, and making homemade granola. The day before had been kind of similar, more practical, and while there is such value in taking care of responsibilities and home stuff, sometimes I find myself needing more. I am learning the value of paying attention to these kinds of longings as often they are prodding me towards important things like adventure, beauty, and connection. My husband had driven by Flat Top Mountain Farm the week before in search of local tomatoes. While he did not have much luck on that pursuit, he came face to face with so much beauty and had expressed a desire to take the whole family back to share in the experience.
Thankfully, Neil got home just after our toddler daughter awoke, and we had just enough of a glorious window of time to claim the opportunity to have a late afternoon adventure. I popped popcorn for the car ride as our destination was a good 40 minutes away. My ideals of how even a car ride might go were quickly brought back to reality as the kids struggled to even share popcorn and argued throughout the ride. Still, we carried on, trusting that it would be worth it and hoping that we would be there in time before the farm closed for the day.
We got there about 30 minutes before closing, and we were met with such beauty that we all simply were taking it in. We were greeted with kindness and hospitality, as the owner reassured me that we had plenty of time to enjoy picking flowers and did not need to worry about the approaching closing time. I felt myself exhale as I was immediately refreshed simply by getting out of the house, but also with the landscape around me.
Zinnias surrounded us, along with the mountains in the background, horses, blue skies, lovely fresh air, and late afternoon sunshine.
We were given a tall bucket and scissors, and for $12 you can pick as much as can fit in the bucket. We enjoyed strolling up and down the rows of zinnias taking in the shades of reds, yellows, pinks, and purples, some higher than my children, and we lost ourselves in the experience. If flowers have personality traits and characteristics, I think of zinnias as cheerful and bursting with life. There are also sunflowers on the farm, exuding so much yellow and radiance. Mamas and children, families, and couples were also sharing in the experience, taking in the beauty of the farm and taking pictures. I found myself thinking of that Tom Petty song about belonging among the wildflowers. I delighted in the beauty and felt refreshment and rejuvenation for myself. I also delighted in seeing my children take in the experience.
We finally pulled ourselves away from the farm, cognizant that our bucket was filled and brimming with zinnias, and our hearts were full from the experience. The magical feeling was tempered with reality when we needed to swing by Aldi on our way home to get some essentials for the week, and our toddler wild child was throwing bags of frozen peas up into the air in the middle of the grocery store; yet, even in the reality of parenting, the joys and the challenges, we made a memory that afternoon that we can carry with us.
Later that evening, the gift of Flat Top Mountain Farm spilled into my home as once the kids were in bed and the house quieted down, I set about trimming stems and putting zinnias in vase after vase, and now we can enjoy the beauty a little longer. Zinnias are in our entrance to our home, all over the dining room, on our kitchen window sill, and even in a hall bathroom. The zinnias cheer me when it feels mundane and when I feel weary, reminding me of the invitation for myself to get outside when I need refreshment and to invite my children to come too.
I am so grateful to live in an area that offers so much in the outdoor world as sometimes we (moms and children alike) all feel better with a little sunshine, beauty, and adventure.
For more information on Flat Top Mountain Farm:
Flat Top Mountain Farm is located north of Chattanooga at 638 Bowman Cemetery Road Soddy Daisy, Tennessee 37379. Even the drive to the farm is beautiful. More information can be found on their website, and be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Fall events at the farm are just around the corner, and I look forward to returning with my crew for another Flat Top Mountain Farm adventure consisting of pumpkins, hay rides, and corn mazes! If you visit and pick flowers, be sure to save your bucket for a future discount on your next flower picking experience.