Signs of Life

Photo | Submitted Our son, Nathaniel “Nate” Wessman Myles, was born Sept. 18 at 11:57 a.m. at 29 weeks and 2 days. Prayers for him to grow strong and come home from the NICU soon are appreciated.

Photo | Submitted
Our son, Nathaniel “Nate” Wessman Myles, was born Sept. 18 at 11:57 a.m. at 29 weeks and 2 days. Prayers for him to grow strong and come home from the NICU soon are appreciated.

In the fall, Maryland buzzes with vivid signs of life — trees turn to striking shades of crimson and gold on local streets, crisp apples hang from heavy branches in Thurmont orchards, the Urbana Library Farmers’ Market carts spill over with pumpkins, plump spaghetti squash, zucchini and corn. The air grows chilly, calling for steaming mugs of apple cider sprinkled with cinnamon or pumpkin spice lattes at the new Starbucks in the center of Urbana, and Minda Metz brings back her tasty soups and artisan breads for the season at Monrovia’s The Buzz.

In each of our homes, there are seasonal signs of life — leaves tracked in on the foyer floor, remnants of school lunches to unpack and repack, piles of clothes to switch over for the season.

I’ve been learning to relish signs of life in my home and in my own body. In my home, I love organization, fresh things on the walls and moving furniture around—I have a perfection mentality. When I look up from my work and stare around our house, I see piles of clutter and disorganized corners or empty walls as problems, things to be fixed. But in a recent book I picked up, “The Nesting Place,” author Myquillyn Smith encourages readers to see these things as an indication of a lived-in house, as signs of life. My husband’s shoes that seem to appear everywhere, laundry thrown on the floor, undecorated rooms — these are evidence of the ones I love the most, they are signs of life.

In my body, the contractions I felt the last week, the incision I now have from the C-section — all of these are signs of the life we now hold in our arms. I never knew I could love a tiny little person so much. In a series of grievous events, our first twin, Myles Seth, passed away last week, followed soon by his brother, Nathaniel “Nate” Wessman, who came to life strong and kicking and is growing stronger each day in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The deep grief I am experiencing over Myles, the physical pain I feel, the adjustments in our life and in my body — all of these things are signs of life, the life I adore incredibly. We gave Nate a second middle name, Myles, as a permanent sign of the life he lived in my womb with his brother. I don’t want to ever forget to treasure even the painful evidence of life all around me. If not noted, these experiences sometimes vanish all too soon, without being embraced for the joy they can bring.

Fall is a perfect time to embrace loved ones around food. On the fall foodie front, check out Sheilah Kaufman’s vibrant review of the 12-acre Bloomery Plantation Distillery in nearby Charles Town, W. Va. This family-run spot features tours and tastings and, among other treats, offers glasses of limoncello, an Italian beverage the distillery has concocted. Kaufman reported that in one week, a staffer hand zested 2,500 lemons for this specialty drink. Flip to page 20 to read more about Bloomery Plantation and plan a visit.

In addition, take a look at page 5 for Urbana resident and food bank director Jo Ostby’s new food column. She’s taking a look at local dishes that carry memories for her family, and tracking down the local chefs and recipes behind them. Each month she will be sharing new dishes and recipes with us.

Also notable this month is that September’s celebration of Urbana High School’s turf field opening was canceled due to rain. While sports activities have already begun, our community comes together on Saturday, Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. to celebrate this longtime project and dream of the Urbana High School Boosters.

As always, contact me any time with questions, article ideas and feedback. You can reach me at or 240.409.6734. Happy fall!


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