Summer

It began on a day blessed with a departing, wintry onslaught, the season’s grand exit. A walk through the woods, trees toppled over, a puncturing dormancy woven into every corner - we greeted the first week of the growing season with what appeared to be bad news. The tendrils of shorten days were just beginning to recede, but winter’s residency still enveloped us. A bruising, ironclad sky caught the morning and grabbed onto it hard, carrying forward as the day proceeded. A perimeter of lifelessness bordering any and all available space.

 

In the beginning it never looks pretty. You attempt to outlast the bite of frigid temperatures but are outpaced by its unwavering presence. On the days where the light shines through the wall of cloud cover you swell with hope and attune your thoughts to the pleasant days ahead, where the bite releases and the sinuous hours of summer remain unconnected. In those times the focus is on what joyous bounty is out there waiting to be realized; conversations tend toward the detailed potential, the unencumbered deal struck with nature. You feel bold and brash but completely with the bounds of possibility. Then all the snow melts, receding into the ground. The soil softens and thaws. Spring is ceremoniously greeted. We throw ourselves into the muck.

 

Upon reflection, those days don’t seem as distant as they are. The rush of summer has fully captured the farm. The days feel like multiple, episodic moments connected only by the day it just so happens to be. But in each day is the unfolding of many smaller days in which the heap of responsibilities must be seen through in order to pass onto the next, leaving one with little time to appreciate each day’s snaking movement. If you were to unwind and dissect each day, what you would see is the farm and the beauty it beholds, how the repetition of a job begets our grander purpose, seen not only in the end result of a fully mature plant but in its slow and eager maturation. If you were to uncoil the grip of each day, you would feel the intensity of place, the internal exaltation, the curling sense of peace as a goldfinch parachutes down from the sky only to repurpose that energy and swoop back up.

 

Over the past few weeks, the time spent on the farm has largely outnumbered any other amount of time elsewhere. And for good reason. There is a deep and utter necessity to be on the farm as much as we can. Summer season is in full swing and a sense of duty follows suit. With the good fortunes we’ve had regarding rainfall and soil conditions, our ability to harvest has been greatly enhanced, giving us the opportunity to amble out into our fields with a wider scope. The fields have generously given us a fulfilling and enriching satisfaction. We return to the barn with overflowing baskets of lettuce and greens while the root vegetables are creeping up to similar levels.

 

Though all of this relieves and befits the farmer appropriately, it would all be rendered meaningless if not for the arrival of our community. The days come with a heightened awareness and directed sense of purpose knowing that all subsequent actions will somehow, in someway, impact the bounty our members receive. So everything in the summery days feels important. The motions of work are awash with urgency, yet remain gentle and in balance with the land. What punctuates the job are the slam of car doors and the face of kids and adults alike as they stop to take a breathe and look at the back end of our farm, the sun beating, the sundry of life in full display, another summer afternoon draped in the honey hued sky.