This is the smallest Fall garden we’ve grown in the last ten years, and still we are overflowing with food. It wasn’t hard to plant too much. In fact it was easy, and really, it isn’t too much. We will feed ourselves, our family and friends, and our chickens will have greens to eat, too. Also, the rest of the garden gets a nice meal of clover and rye to digest over the winter months, so everyone, including the soil flora and fauna, is happy, and still there is plenty.
This was the worst harvest of winter squashes we’ve ever had. We gambled on an experiment with the field corn, and we lost the gamble. But still, there is enough. Especially considering our children only really like squash in the form of pie, or the delicatas, which don’t keep half as well as butternuts. So, again there’s plenty.
There are also plenty of onions, plenty of garlic, plenty of sweet potatoes and white potatoes, stashed throughout the house. There are jars upon jars of tomatoes and fruit, of beans and grains. We have so much.
Outside, there is a thriving population of deer running in the woods. One or two may find their way into our freezer. There’s also a fox in the neighborhood, which will keep us on our toes, making sure no more chickens make their way into that belly. Lots of critters. Plenty to do.
There are plenty of leaves blowing around now, shedding from the trees, dancing in the sky on gusts of wind that gather force on their way over the ridge and back down, covering the garden with their goodness, filling the creek and making the crossings deeper.
There is plenty of water, clearer and colder now as it soaks in the cool night air under the thinning canopy, the increasing view of the bright stars. We drive through the water on our way in and out of the hollow. We wash with it, our clothes, our dishes, our home, our bodies. We cook with it, and after a few filtrations, we drink it too. It bubbles up from the ground after long rains. It keeps our garden alive, and sometimes there is an over-abundance and the roots of the parsley rot from too much water.
Truly, this is the land of plenty.
Truly, we are grateful for this abundance.
Now, the trick is to remember that living in the land of plenty does not mean that we can just wallow in this goodness and be lazy. Living in paradise is a great privilege, and an awesome responsibility.
Somehow, it is easy to want more. Strangely enough, it seems especially easy to want more when we already have so much.
How often have our children asked to get out more toys while they sit in the midst of a floor full of wooden train tracks, matchbox cars and unfinished puzzle pieces? We tell them that they have to put something away before they can get anything else out, and in the process of tending to their playthings, they sometimes forget that they ever wanted anything else anyway. I can relate.
When I tend to what has been given to me, the desire to acquire slackens. When I do not attend to my responsibilities, the mess of it all quickly becomes overwhelming and I long for something more and different than the plenty that is already present, and waiting for me to attend to it. Likewise, as I attend to what is most needful, that natural abundance increases of its own accord, with or without my desire attached to it.
I’m not a politician (thank heavens!), nor do I wish to be. But I do wish that politics happened in greater relationship to the Living World. If that were the case, I think things would be different on this planet.
As it is, I belong to the Agrestian Party (yeah, look that one up), and regularly attend the Church of the Living Soil. Though my mind may wander, these feet of mine remain planted on the Good Earth, firmly, in this land of plenty.
(As a post script, I’d like to say that what our friends at Hill and Hollow Farm are doing with their Indiegogo campaign – please support it here – is not striving for MORE, but inviting community support of the stewardship and beautiful outreach and education that is their life’s work. When we support one another this way – and in whatever way we can – the tide rises and lifts us all.)