Today is my birthday. If you’re anything like me, birthdays are a time for reflection as well as celebration. I took a little time to myself this morning to think about the past 31 years, to contemplate all that I am grateful for, to remember the losses, and to daydream about my hopes for the future. I love having a summertime birthday, the time of year when I feel most incredibly alive and most essentially me. Watching crisp white clouds drift across a clear blue sky, I wonder where and who I would be if it were not for the farm. Just as we have labored to create it, to carve out a place and give identity to a few acres of soil, so the farm has moulded me. It has yet to make me patient, but it has certainly made me more accepting and persistent and tough. For a few months each summer, the farm engages and transforms my whole being, body and mind. This can be overwhelming and stifling at times, but paradoxically it is what makes the work so rewarding. Fellow farmer Elizabeth Weller of Amazing Heart Farm recently reflected in her blog so beautifully, “Summer, for me, is expansive, glittery, vocal, alive. It is a time of connection and abundance, of nourishment and work, of exploration and discovery.” Indeed! This evening, with friends, music, and a sky full of fireflies, its time to celebrate the bright lush heartbreaking season of summer and the miraculous gift of being alive to sweat, ache, dance, and laugh through the long hours of each day.
I hope you all enjoy your summer celebrations this weekend and take plenty of time to lounge in the grass and soak up the sunshine.
As the wonderful poet Mary Oliver writes,
The Summer Day
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?