Wandering Seasons (Audio Available)

Big Booth Words is now available in AUDIO! Click to listen along!


          It’s loquat season where I live – out in the countryside, embraced by rolling hills and sweeping vistas. On my walk, I pick a few straight from their inviting perch and pop them in my mouth without bothering to wash them. The juices from the perfectly ripe fruit dribble down my chin, and I wipe the sticky sweetness onto the shoulder of my worn shirt. I could also pick mangos. There are a good three dozen mango trees in this countryside community and, though their time is winding down, plenty still dot the landscape in all their tempting red and gold splendor. Or native guava, also in season, and so ubiquitous they bring birds of all feathers to the surrounding areas. But as this is loquat’s annual debut, I invite it to center stage and delight in it alone. Next week or next month, it will be another vegetable or fruit. And so on, and miraculously and deliciously so on, year after year.

It has always seemed intuitive to me that nature is an easy access, catch-all cure to half our modern ailments, and certainly the Zen-like key to my finally learning to check my tongue, focus my ideas and time, and be more deliberate in all that I do. I truly feel this or, as Brazilians would say, I feel this on my skin. But my intuition (sample size of one) doesn’t hold a candle to broad scientific findings that everything about being out in nature, from coniferous essential oils used in hospitals to stave off skin diseases, to exercising visual fluency and diminishing the anthrophone so as to strengthen our internal system for reducing stress and heighten our sense of joy through aesthetics, is boundlessly beneficial.

When the opportunity presented itself to keep an apartment in the city but make this masterpiece my home base, I snapped it up. I was starved for the unbound wild of nature. Through love, through marriage, I was invited to tap into this very basic, unmet urge – to regularly replenish myself through the natural world, and I latched onto it like sticky seeds to pant cuffs. It had been fifteen plus years in one or another smoggy, Latin American megalopolis, and three in a rather circumscribed city in the US, for a grand total of twenty years skirting my screaming inner monologue to, please, please, swap out the grays for peaceful variegated greens.

Just shy of two years in the countryside, on the day following a long, moonlit walk scored for a prodigious chorus of frogs and boisterous drum circle of crickets, with special effects from meandering fireflies, I pause to write out a small homage to my home. It’s warm and inviting. It’s peaceful and healthy and generous. I have lived in so many houses and apartments, six cities and three countries; I am frequently asked where I belong; and I shy from pinpointing my physical place. And now, now I find myself joyously falling into the embrace of nature’s exuberance on a near daily basis and recognizing that this same exquisite wholeness is what has washed over me in every hike I have ever taken, in every walk through the woods, all the long runs over dirt roads, and in my earliest memories of my five-year-old self catching fireflies after dusk. The peace of all the thens in nature are now my every day. And home has become the most beautiful word in the world.

Happy words,

* For the science and psychology behind our intuitive need to have meaningful contact with the outdoors, and for the following five words I will use in next month’s post, read “Call to the Wild: This is Your Brain on Nature from National Geographic:

* Bonus: repeat appearance:

42 thoughts on “Wandering Seasons (Audio Available)

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      Thank you, dear Paty!

  1. Carola Junqueira says:

    Congratulations Melissa!
    Itis delight to listen to this masterpiece of beautiful English!

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      It’s a delight to have such wonderful listeners, Carola!

  2. Maxine Vogt says:

    I savored every word and relished the images, echoing the feelings as I look out on my beloved creek in my home that I love. So happy for you.

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      You, of all people, dear Maxine, are the person I imagine MOST understands this explosion of sensations gleaned from a backyard that showcases nature in all it’s glory.

  3. Wow finally got to listen to this and its scarily close to my sensibilities and love for nature and the outdoors – even though its unlikely I will make it back to Brazil you have encapsulated a snippet of real life that many of us will never experience. It awakens sensations and memories that are clear today as they were way back in another time. Just a whiff of jasmine and frangipani in the warm moist air and the memories will be set for life. Nice read and listen M.

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      Thank you so much, Nick. I too relish memories, being able to experience the wonder anew. <3

      1. Ivanaldo de Araújo da Cruz says:

        Querida ,acabei de ver um vídeo seu no YouTube pela primeira vez, tenho 5 anos e pouca experiência em inglês, mas fui levado a conhecer a esta página e ouvi la. A forma clara de tua fala, bem com entonação dada faz me quer deliciar ao conhecer esse idioma, embora me perca no significado da imensa maioria das palavras, estou amando revisitar cada uma delas.
        O meu muito obrigado por teu desprendimento.
        God bless you !

        1. Melissa Mann says:

          Que mensagem linda, Ivanildo. Enjoy the language journey!

    2. Ieda Valquiria says:

      That charming text looks like a “duo” with Melissa. I am very happy to train my listening with your blog Melissa. The poetic way, pleasure in nature and beautiful writing are a plus in the arid way of learning English. You brought two sides together beauty and English I am happy to meet your work. Thank you. Your voice is wonderful and clear

      1. Melissa Mann says:

        Thank you kindly! I am glad you are enjoying the ride… 🙂

  4. Paolo Pani says:

    Linda voz. Beijos querida amiga

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      Thank you, dear Paolo. Saudades.

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      Thank you, Paulo!

  5. Anisio Silva says:

    You’re sensactional with the words, trutly you rock Melissa. Congrats!!!

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      Thank you kindly, Anisio.

  6. Susan Dealis Gobbo says:

    I love to read and listening to your writings! Thank you so much for sharing them!

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      My pleasure, Susan. Thank you for listening and reading!

  7. César Martins says:

    First I “saw” you was at “tecla sap” and I just fell in love with your voice and English and I hope you don’t mind accepting me on your blog. If you do I promise to follow every single subject you post! Thanks a lot!

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      Thank you, César. Enjoy!

  8. Glauber Souza says:

    Beautifully written. Loved it!

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      Thank you, Glauber. 🙂

  9. Adorei o texto e a sua voz. Grata!

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      Obrigada, Tereza. 🙂

  10. Luiz Alexandre Ruiz says:

    Oi, te conheci no canal do …SAP…. não lembro o nome todo…kkk…
    Estou aprendendo inglês… e amo ouvir e ler ao mesmo tempo.

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      Obrigada, Luiz.

  11. João Bosco de Miranda Pimentel says:

    Seu texto é elegante e acalentador e faz viajar ao encontro de onde ele retrata, sua narrativa me pensar que estou entendendo tudo. Descobri um motivo especial para aprender inglês.!! Obrigado!!

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      João Bosco, que mensagem linda! Boas “viagens”!

  12. Yukio Okada 岡田幸男 says:

    Hi Melissa, how are you? Thank you for sharing this amazing material. I really appreciate your kindness!

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      Thank you, Yukio, and I appreciate your taking the time to read the post.

  13. Wow! Seems as if you’re describing this bucolic view of my village over here in Angola, Africa. Loved the images your words grant the soul. Thanks for sharing your world with the world.

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      And thank you for such a beautiful comment.

  14. Dear Melissa, thank you for the good idea of writing and giving us the listening audio. The worst problem I have with English learning is understanding new words and accents. I have to tell you that I made a “paste and copy” of your text but it was because the grey letters seem to me very small, besides I have to mark many of the words to search for their meaning after the listening exercise. I must tell you that I am 76 years old, always preparing myself to travel while still healthy. We might be in South Africa just now, but quarantine kept us at home. Congratulations for your work and thank you a lot.

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      I am honored you are taking the time to read the blog and thrilled to see that you are a shining example of someone who has committed to a lifetime of learning. Enjoy the journey!

  15. Hi Melissa! Thank you for making me practice English as never. I couldn’t find the idiom “like sticky seeds to pant cuffs”. I think I understood what it means as your text is very clear, but why do people say this way. Thanks a lot. xoxo

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Cacilda. “Like sticky seeds to pant cuffs” is not an idiom. Sticky seeds are literally those seeds that get stuck on animal fur or clothes (like “carrapicho”) and are a real pain in the butt to pick off. In other words, I latched onto (stuck to, held to) this urge/idea as tightly as sticky seeds latch onto (stick to, hold to) clothing or animal fur, which is very tightly!

      1. Oh Melissa, my poor vocabulary. I haven’t known that sticky means pegajoso, I only knew till now that stick means bastão. Living and learning! Thank you again.

  16. I loved the story. Congratulations

    1. Melissa Mann says:

      Thank you, Valdecir!

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