Summing up the summer

I sit down to write a newsletter, produce a few paragraphs, get pulled away from the process, sit back down, weeks have passed, and the news has become old.  It has been a full and fruitful year: from one bountiful harvest to the next; from one monumental weeding job to the next; from one feeling of accomplishment to two of things undone; from one energetic toddler to the other fledgling explorer; from one late night to the next early morning; from births to deaths and the madly spinning world between them.

A farmer’s world from spring to fall does not allow many still moments of reflection.  The list never contracts.  The race is always on to the next demand.  We are consumed by the farm, and we love it.  A parent’s life from morning to evening does not allow many quiet spells of perspectivizing.  We may at times sit spellbound by the unfolding of consciousness, the constant discoveries and epiphanies, the purity of essence, the beauty of being.  But time furtively propels forward, and when at last perspective strikes we realize the child has grown older, the baby is no longer a baby.  We lose ourselves to our children, and we love it.  And so it goes under the unfathomably distant stars, on this ever-revolving earth, eon upon eon, where both no thing is new under the sun and every thing is always new.

Amidst these immutable facts, seasons change and annual crops come and go.  Year ten of A Place on Earth CSA has been a great boon.  The weather has been as close to perfect as can be, and our bushel baskets have run over.  It has been a long haul seeing this farm from worn-out and neglected to fertile and forgiving, and still there is so much work to be done.  But, it is becoming more and more clear that the land responds to loving care.  Where once even weeds were hardly fit to grow, beautiful food now flourishes.  We have made this happen as a community, and, in a world convulsing with war and pestilence, this place on earth—little as it is—harbors great hope for healing, resilience, cooperation, and the power of love.

Just as in 2005 it would have been impossible to foresee where we would be in 2014, we cannot imagine how this farm organism will evolve over the next ten years.  If the creek don’t rise, however, we can only continue to grow in health and integrity as we work together through each successive trial and triumph.  It has been a great honor to work this land, to tend to these plants and animals and microbes, to believe and be believed in, to celebrate and mourn, look and leap, wonder and imagine with you, as bedraggled and bewildered as I may sometimes be.

I cannot adequately express my gratitude for my companions in the field and home and spirit.  Whatever the circumstances, you are here, and you make light in darkness, fun in hardship, laughter in loss, learning in confusion.  I frequently feel I do not give as much as I take.  I wish there were some way to repay what I know I owe.  Know that your presence is a gift I’ll sing of and give thanks for to the grave.  Our family is unspeakably richer with you in it.

Frost will soon creep in and kill back much of the labor we lavished on this place this year.  I hope your bellies and freezers and larders have been filled and that you are still hungry for another spring and another go-round through another growing season, another journey in an endless effort to right our relationships with each other and this precious planet.

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