Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow: An Inspirational Farewell from Your Farmers
Guest post by your 2011 Ecosystem Farm Farmers, Courtney and Colette Buchholtz
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”–T.S. Eliot
I hope you are all enjoying the mild winter we have been experiencing so far. I wanted to take this opportunity to say a short farewell. As many of you already know I will not be returning to the farm this year but I wanted to say thank you for your wonderful support and encouragement throughout this past season. My experience at the Ecosystem Farm and with the Accokeek Foundation was truly one of a kind and I am grateful for all the wonderful people that I had the opportunity to meet and work with. I will be farming this year at Country Pleasures in Middletown, MD with Eric and Lori Rice. They have a diverse operation that includes grass-fed beef, numerous fruits, honeybees, various value-added products and vegetables. I am hoping to help them expand their vegetable offerings this coming season. They sell at the Dupont Circle on Sunday mornings so if you are ever in the neighborhood do stop by and say hello. I hope to return to the farm on occasion too so I will perhaps see some of you in the future. Thank you again and I wish you a very prosperous season in 2012!
Words. How many words does it take to really describe an experience, to frame that experience, to honor that experience, and to let it go? Does it truly depend on the depth of the experience, the impact, the length, the nature of it? Can we name it with words unique to ourselves, to our own viewpoint, to our own voice? Can we impart meaning to something so powerful, so empowering, so gratifying, so soul-searching, with mere words of an invented language?
With just the right words, farming can become a poetic, magical experience. Who hasn’t read a little Wendell Berry and breathed a deep sigh? But day by day, with hands in the soil, sweat on our brows, we cannot live on only poetry and magic. Farming is too deep, too poignant, too indifferent for that. In other words, different words, farming can be laborious, frustrating, consuming. And only when we intersperse the madness, the creativity, with bits of beauty, of magic, of poetry, moments of pleasure, cool breezes and quenching rains, can we persevere. It is the haunting voice of a language we know only intuitively and only if we care to listen.
The language of the land evolves, as do we. We change. We move on. The seasons move slowly from one to the next. Finding a voice each their own. The way we interact with it is how that language is expressed. In our words. With our insufficient vocabulary.
In gratitude for the support, encouragement, and friendship you all gave to us. We carry that with us as we move forward on our journeys. I choose farming not as a job but as a way of life, as a way of connecting, as a way of plugging in to community, as a way of making change that benefits us all. I will continue making those same choices, day by day, wherever I end up. I carry an experience with me that has pushed me deeper into my understanding of the natural world, deeper into my connection with it, and deeper into a desire to grow nourishing food.
May food continue to connect you with yourself and each other. May farming continue to connect you to an ordered understanding of the sun, the soil, the moon, the micro-cosmos. And indirectly with the chaotic natural world from which your nourishment truly comes.
Welcome to a new year, another vocabulary.