April 29, 2010


It’s like religion.

After a long winter meditation, I step out into the cool mornings again to walk the tire tracks past the barn and down to the high tunnels. There’s a choice of wet grass or a little mud, but my shoes don’t mind either way. I get a few quiet moments while on the path to look around, gauge the clouds and weather, and listen to the bantam roosters crowing. Sometimes there are others ahead or behind me, walking toward the same destination. It's a ritual really, like having coffee or tea with breakfast.

Then, there’s the people that I want to share that cup of coffee with. That's how I know my day on Windflower isn't just another day on the job. It's a gathering, a reunion. Everyone smiles and greets each other. We share books, music, jokes, any Spanish words we can remember, and then make weekend arrangements to see each other some more, all while our hands sink into the dirt. At Andrea’s suggestion, I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood.

It has been cold, a little rainy too, so we gather around the table to catch up to our seeding or with the plants that are eager to get more room for their roots. We have a full greenhouse and a tunnel that's not far behind. The weather wasn't good for planting this last week, so there are greens ready to grow out the seams of the tunnels. Soon all the little plants will be set in artful rows through the fields. They’ll look like the details of a painting, something that most people wouldn’t notice because they want to see what’s obvious. Walking by them gives me a sense of pride because I can say that I put them there. So far, we have some peas in the ground protected by white row cover.

Planting is my favorite spring task. It's really an art. From a distance it looks unhurried, monotonous- maybe even easy- moving along at a pace slower than a walk, but once you’re seated on the transplanter, everything rushes by. The water has to be just right, the driver has to know that you can keep up, and if you are sitting on the side opposite of your dexterity, then it’s more challenging.

I learn the most Spanish there, just asking questions or mumbling requests to fake my accent. Having someone of a different culture is a great excuse for learning the language, but the beginning of every new season is almost like starting over. This will be my sixth year, and I assure you that the learning never stops.

It’s usually my ambition to know why we do things on the farm because I take my work seriously. The small details, so often ignored, are what make Windflower what it is. Knowing the obvious wouldn’t isn't as interesting, but I never asked Ted if he thought it odd that I questioned him about everything. Maybe he’s caught on that I’m trying to learn the specifics so that someday, he doesn’t even have to tell me what must be done, I'll just know the way things ought to be. It’s something I never thought of until these words scratched the page.

No comments:

Post a Comment