Changes certainly

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Changes certainly


Lucas Brown


my experiences during this pandemic

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When I left my home in Portland on March 12th during spring break from Southern Maine Community College, I didn’t expect to be away at a mountain cabin for more than a long weekend. I also didn’t expect to be moving in with my parents, instead of returning to classes the following week. However, when I got an email stating that spring break was extended by one week, I decided to stay in the mountains. Then, in response to another message informing our student body that all classes would be switching to online because of COVID-19, I made the decision to return from the mountains by Sunday River and live with my parents in Casco.

I am grateful for my health and my family’s health today, everyday, and especially throughout this year. When I moved back in with my parents, we all decided that growing a garden would be an essential way to move forward and support our collective well-being. We quickly put a wish list together and placed an order from Fedco seed company. My parents live in Webb’s Mills Village in Casco, the same house I grew up in. It was an interesting and challenging transition to return there and practice living together again, especially during all of the uncertainties at the beginning of this international emergency. We worked together to support each other’s physical and mental health by sharing meals, walking outside on forest trails, and organizing with our neighbors to buy groceries collectively to limit store trips. We reached out to local farmers for staples like meat, dairy, and leftover storage crops- potatoes, carrots, turnips, cabbages and grains. We were celebrating when some spring treats became available like parsnips, kale, mustard and lettuces. Slowly as gardens began to thaw and seeds were germinating in our kitchen windows, we grew accustomed to a new way of living.

Fortunately, my parents were both able to continue their paid work at home, and our wifi access could support all three of us, while I attended virtual classes and wrapped up spring term. I also found work with our long-time friend and neighbor, Sara, who runs an apothecary and grows medicinal plants at Rooted Earth Farm. Her business was increasing to unusual levels, especially with online orders, and people seeking alternative methods to support their health. She wasn’t able to hire someone to work indoors because of the risks of expanding both her and her workers’ family “germ circles”. When I asked Sara for work outside in the gardens, we both agreed it would be a good fit.

I was so thankful to have work close to my parent’s house, about 100 yards walk or skateboard downhill, and to be spending time with plants that I didn’t know very well. I have previously spent four years working seasonally on vegetable farms, so I don’t have as much experience with perennials, herbs, and other plants used in Sara’s vast array of salves, teas, and tinctures. I believe in the power of plants to heal and transform our bodies, minds, and strengthen our connections to forces greater than ourselves. I learned so much observing the cycles of different plants like lavender, comfrey, nettles, calendula, chamomile, catnip, sage, and countless others-- even the weeds! I am grateful to Sara for providing me a safe work (and play) environment during such a tumultuous spring/summer, while helping her respond to increasing demands on the business, and earning some money to pitch in for bills at home.

I know a lot of people in this state, country, and around the world have made some serious life changes this year and a lot of them have been forced in response to harsh and unimaginable circumstances during this pandemic. I send my prayers to those who have lost loved ones, employment, housing, and access to other basic human needs and social services.

Now, months later I am typing this from a new home in Norway on Gore Road, where I am living with an old friend, two dogs, and a cat. I am starting a new business with friends new and old that is a bicycle powered compost and waste removal service called Spoke Folks. I am working at Fare Share Food Co-op, learning about cooperatives, and meeting people in new ways in a world that feels new in many ways. I am reminded of people saying that “change is the only constant thing”, and I do believe that change is certainly happening. Lettuce embrace it together!! ;) :) <3 <3


Lucas Brown, “Changes certainly,” Western Maine Foothills Community Archive, accessed December 10, 2023,