Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver, The Summer Day
It was almost impossible to get this week’s newsletter together, and equally impossible to get back my proper desire to get out into the fields, reacquaint myself with the land here, to see where we are, what has happened, what needs to be done. I know I was only gone for a week—one week and a day—but that too seems impossible. What happened that week and all that I had to go through emotionally, physically, and spiritually makes it feel like much longer, and to be quite honest, I can’t yet move back into the way things were. I went back home expecting to lose my father, arriving to him gone already only to find out the next morning that my mother was back in the hospital, and then losing her only hours after burying my father.
This is all rather personal, but like a pest infestation or a bad storm, it has had an impact on the farm. Nothing major,
just a week where the farmer couldn’t get much field work done. A week for the weeds to grow, in one case causing
us to lose a carrot planting, a delay in ground prep for the remaining tomatoes (although 700 were already in), the flowers for CSA members a project that was not quite finished before I left and is now fairly set back, making for only mid-late summer bouquets at this point. Even in a year when things have gone so well, this tragedy will leave a small footprint on the farm’s year, and because it is my job to keep the business part of this business going, it may take a few weeks to get back in the groove.
This week’s newsletter was short, with little to say and recipes hard to conjure when I hadn’t yet gotten my appetite back. In the end, however, this experience, like all we have had with our farm members, has served to deepen my appreciation for the relationships we get to forge in this kind of farming. Many of you had kind words, thoughts, and prayers for us that made our decision to cancel last week’s harvest feel ok, and made us feel an even greater sense of gratitude for all of you who support us.
And now, after an even paced day at Farmer’s Market with the farmer and the kids staying to help rather than leaving for the day and three nights of solid sleep and blissful trust in Andre’s long hours in the field to carry us through while I just relaxed, today–finally–I feel back. Even though I had eight hundred e-mails to sort through and this blog to update and the morning is almost over, my hands will soon be back in the dirt, pulling weeds I am sure, but back here on this farm, home.