The Patterns of the Farm
by Sky Harman, Ecosystem Farm Apprentice
The seasons turn. The sun rises and moves through the sky in a great arc overhead before it sets beneath the horizon. Clouds circle and swirl overhead as they pass. Time passes. Our labors are more methodical as they become second nature, our routine the same. We learn the rhythms of the day, the week, ourselves, our fellow workers.
That day started like any other—we spoke of the work to be done, we divided tasks between us. We prepared potatoes for planting. We cleared beds. We set up water lines. We attended a staff meeting. In the afternoon we were to prepare our fall planting schedule. It was nearly perfect weather—warm, sunny, just a bit of a breeze. High tide was around 1:15 pm, so after the meeting, as the rest of the farm crew went to lunch together to discuss the afternoon’s tasks, I rushed to the river’s edge to continue my struggles with the pump.
There was an accident.
With one single moment, one moment that might have gone just like the others in our farm life, the rhythm was changed. The dance had stopped. When I arrived at the accident, everyone from the foundation was there standing, watching, waiting, praying I imagine.
Such is life. The rhythm changes. We learn to dance to a new tune.
For us, I believe, farming is a calling. It is not easy work. It is not profitable work. It can be painful, stressful, and at times too much for the nerves to bear. But it is the moments of warm sunshine, of birdsong, and the swirling of clouds overhead that lend a sweet melody to our days. It is the sharing of labor. It is knowing our fellows, in hand, heart, and mind, in an incredibly intimate way that lightens our burdens to make them bearable. We farm for love. We grow things to nurture them with the same feeling of care and of kindness that we feel in our hearts, with the hope that someone else might share this gift with us. That is what we try to give you—our love.
I think towards moments like the accident with a detached sense of meaning. I don’t believe in fate. What I do believe is that we choose to live as we do for a reason. We make choices, and those choices have consequences. Some consequences are out of our control, but the choices are our own. We at the Ecosystem Farm choose to farm because we hope to share our love with you. We farm to grow, within ourselves and of the land.
No one can predict the future. Things happen. The multitudes of individual choices that intersect to create a moment in time are beyond our grasp and our control. But what I choose, and what I urge you to choose as well, is love. Make life a conscientious and loving act now, so that whatever may come tomorrow, we can be proud of what was today.