A Farmer's Reflections on Being Thankful

Thanksgiving week; much to be thankful for in the changing of the seasons and the qualities of community.  We are winding down the market season, inching closer to the solstice.  Growth begins to slow as we enter the Persephone period.  Plants do very little from the 1st of December until the end of January, marking time and waiting for the return of the sun.

          Cannabis and vegetables are inseparable to our farming paradigm; each nourishes body and soul in ways that enliven the path.  It is a joy to consume food that grew from earth that we tend; to eat meat that we raised or that came from a farm tended by someone we know and love.  There is deep, abiding love in human community, in sharing the journey. 

        There has been deep joy in learning to tend a piece of land, working the soil and seeing it develop.  We are engaged in vegetable production for our local community and medicinal cannabis production for patients.  It has been a slow process of connection for me, each day deepening my understanding of time and place.

          It all begins on the farm, with the cultivation of food and medicine: knowledge, information and truth all come from the bedrock of food.  What we eat (or don’t) defines how well we will produce in a given day; what knowledge we will process, what spiritual and intellectual growth we will make.

          We’ve been stripped from fundamental life truths by a profound disconnect from the sources of our food.  An inability to participate in the deepest, most human of land-interactions have left us mired in anomie, distracted by the flashing lights of screens.

         Corporations sold us down the river of consumerism by promising relief from drudgery.  There is much to be said for saving time and creating convenience, but it turns out that meaningful work is more fulfilling than useless leisure.  Humans are still governed by animalistic instincts that drive us to survive, but we’ve lost the traditional means of doing so.  Behavioral scientists have turned our innate skills against us, preying on the hopeless taste bud preference for sugar-salt-fat with marketing, branding and flashy packaging.

        We’ve lost our cultural mooring, tethered to “what happened on the TV last night” instead of “the natural rhythms of life”.

         There is a long tradition of scribes, calling from the wilderness “you’ve lost your way”.  It is with a sense of irony that I’ve become that person, seeking the dialectic of active participation without the trappings of modern anomie.   I am driven to act on the system and to effect change, which means that change unto myself is inevitable in the process.

          How do I engage without being sucked into the abyss?  The more time I spend plugged into the Matrix, the more difficult it is to maintain my sense of soul and self; the farm is my anchor, tethering me to the soil.  Planting vegetables in the wan November sunlight, I think to myself “I am right where I am supposed to be, at the right time, doing the right thing.”          

       On the farm, all things are cyclical; there is always work to be done and sometimes there is too much work to be done.  Life is both simple and complex, depended upon how you look at it.  The more I learn to observe the rhythms of nature, the more I am able to live simply within complexity.  This is my goal in systemic interaction; to be simple within complexity, providing a clear lens into my way of life and the reality I live.

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