Often in the course of an endless day of farming I find myself with a tool in my hand, sweat on my brow, a little sun on my nose and not a “things to do list” in my head. It’s during this stillness, something that exists between an inhale and an exhale, that my mind asks questions I otherwise never had time to contemplate. These are the moments I try and share with you in these letters. These letters are not meant to be a soapbox or a bully pulpit. They aren’t intimating that I know something that you don’t. This is me sharing something that most people don’t have any more in their lives…time to think.
Most evenings the very last thing I do on the field before I leave to is to bow at the waist and to quickly say a few words of thanks to Mother Earth for all the wonderful things that grow on the fields, tangible or otherwise. Lately, however, I have been leaving less optimistic and a little heavier in my thoughts. The act of giving thanks became a physical motion rather than an emotional one. Last night, as I began the short but extremely tedious chore of opening and closing the deer fencing (see, not cheerful!) something made me pause and just take inventory.
I am a farmer. I feed families vegetables that I grow with my own hands. I chose this path and I do it with all my heart. I leave the field exhausted, but content. Yes I wish the radishes are bigger, but they are growing. Yes I wish the lettuce was taller, but they too are growing. So this exercise continued; point and counterpoint. “I wish there were less weeds!” “Yes, but from amongst those weeds the kale grows!”
Over those few moments, despite life being dynamic, nothing physical changed that dramatically on the field. I was standing in the same place, facing the same direction, but my mood was markedly better. Lighter. Bordering on ebullient. What changed was my perspective. I became grateful again for everything around me, weeds, pest, growing tomatoes, beautiful zucchini flowers and all.
I guess that is the lesson. All of these emotions exist on the field and off, in harmony and unfortunately in disharmony occasionally. It’s not that I should ignore the weeds in some Pollyannaish stupor, but just the same, I should not ignore the beauty that also surrounds me.
The power to decide where we focus our energies is all ours. In my case, a few minutes of taking inventory of the good with the bad was all that was needed to wipe the field dirt from my perspective. (You should prepare to receive a bag full of weeds for your Bhumi Farm share this week. If you strain real hard you may just see oranges! Just kidding.)