Reflecting and setting intentions last night, in the stillness of the solstice, I came to a realization. As a farmer, I’ve become too serious, too pragmatic. A farmer’s world can be a world of incredible pressures; a mortgage to pay, interns to mentor, soils to stimulate, crops to harvest, deliveries, accounting, sales, cashflows… the list goes on. Putting my “head down”, focusing on the work, the burdens, the challenges of my profession- this has been a theme for me in the past year. Every decision made on the farm was executed methodically, like a well-practiced piece of music. If you watched me play this piece of music you would see that my body wasn’t moving with the rhythm, my eyes were staring ahead at the notes mentally trying to get each thing right, afraid of the next bar, the middle, the end. Afraid of turning the page, or God-forbid, closing my eyes and swaying with the music.
The serious farmer is not sustainable, not for me. I work with nature, the most unpredictable of co-workers, the most playful and terrifying. Perhaps my narrow vision of her was what felt necessary this past year to quell my fear of her. Perhaps I didn’t want to see mystery, I wanted math. I wanted calculations, a carefully executed plan. I wanted to reduce each row in the garden to a desk with a phone and computer in a high-rise office building. I wanted distinct edges, and for each problem to be solved and filed away. I wanted seasons to be sure of themselves. I didn’t want to think about the millions of things going on in the ground beneath my feet- a complex web of biology shifting and changing. Composition and decomposition were, for me, just supposed to happen in order for me to do my job; why would I bother trying to understand, wasting my time on wonderment when there is always work to be done? I watched as tiny seeds unfolded their first leaves, then their second, then their blossoms became fruit. How did I not sway to this piece of music? I’m not sure.
Of course I felt some delight, some warm wash of sunshine and colour that nourished all parts of me. But I know I could play this piece with more heart. I could close my eyes more, I could move my body to this music, I could let my soul interact with all the things. I could take a step backwards, back to the person that fell in love with this profession in the first place, a person who has faith in things unknown. That’s where I’m going in this next year of light.