right now :: recovering, exhilarated

For twenty years, we have held a gathering of eclectic, “holistic”, “alternative” farmers, gardeners, and homesteaders at Long Hungry Creek Farm.  It’s a sort of a family reunion where new folks are always welcome.conference 3

I’ve probably attended more than fifteen of those twenty years worth of gatherings.  (We call it a “conference”.)  And usually the weather is great.  Sometimes, it gets cold that weekend.  Sometimes it rains one night, or part of a day.  I cannot remember that it has ever ever rained so much and at the same time been so cold for the weekend of our get-together as it was this year.

I was completely unnerved.  This is an outdoor event.  We put up an extra tent in the yard – a big tent.  But I knew it wasn’t sufficient.

Truth was, it didn’t matter.  As soon as the people began to arrive, my apprehensions began to melt.  The people who attend this event are wonderful people.  Some went to town and got rooms at the local B&Bs.  Some camped in the rain.  No one complained.  They drank a lot of coffee and hot tea.  They ate the warm meals with gratitude.  They may have even attended MORE of the workshops than usual, because they were held in protected locations.conference 4conference 2

Both Friday and Saturday were cold and wet.   Sunday, the clouds broke and the sun warmed us, through and through.

We celebrated the goodness of another season past.  We exchanged our thoughts, and our laughter.  We delved into the mystery of the living soil, the good and beautiful earth that we share, and the simultaneous struggle and victory of being human.  This is the new agricultural revolution.  It is populated with good company.conference 1

I am grateful to everyone who took part in the weekend.  I am still sleeping it off.  And I am still exhilarated.

horizontal and vertical

basilIt’s the smell of basil that does it to me. I feel grounded. My thoughts come in for landing. At the same time, I am uplifted. My spirit is full of light. I guess, overall, picking basil balances me. And that is how the various streams of thought that have been bouncing in my head all week finally coalesce. It’s the basil.

In the garden, the visual field of work is horizontal. Plants grow out of the earth, into the air. Ourselves and our various livestock walk on the earth with our heads in the air, more or less. We share the effects of gravity, the quality of the atmosphere. We share a horizontal plane.

But in truth, we are being influenced and are making waves in the vertical plane as well. The life beneath the soil has everything to do with what happens above it, as does the atmosphere above us, and beyond.bee flower

It is easier, simpler, to work horizontally and not think too much about the vertical plane. Don’t worry about the soil as long as the plants grow. Just slap down some NPK and carry on. Don’t think about CO2 emissions or the phase of the moon, just drive that tractor!

In the practice of Biodynamic agriculture, we are called upon to expand our thinking, and our work, in every direction. The life beneath the soil is of utmost importance, and we cannot see it. We have to rely on the evidence we find growing out of it to learn about it, and do what we can from up here to make a positive impact below. Likewise, we stretch our understanding upward, into the cosmos, and try to perceive that the soil, the plants, and all life, is influenced by the near and outer reaches of space. We even do things to try to help that relationship be healthy and strong. We cannot see it, but maybe, with time, we begin to feel something about it that we didn’t feel before.

I began thinking of this after attending church last Sunday. The visiting pastor spoke about a three fold way of forgiveness. It was a new one for me. He explained that as we come to understand, ask, and receive the forgiveness of a higher power, we grow in our ability to forgive others. This is laid out in the Lord’s Prayer when we say “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The unspoken third link is that by engaging in that relationship of forgiveness and forgiving, we become able to forgive ourselves, as well. It’s a very important third link, in my opinion, often overlooked, to the detriment of our well-being.

And it seems to translate into other realms of relationship, as well.

My parents are of the Baby Boomer generation. They had some rather severe differences with their parents, my grandparents, in both lifestyle and ideology. But, from what I witnessed growing up, they still respected their parents. By respecting their parents, they were able to respect themselves, and in turn became respectable people. And I respect them all the more for having watched it all go down.

I don’t know, but I suspect that when we lose respect for others, especially those older than ourselves, it becomes harder to develop a sense of self-respect, which in turn makes it more difficult to treat those younger than ourselves with respect. But how else will they learn? Surely, it’s up to us, each one to become a respectable person.

Verticality isn’t easy. Look to see whether you are sitting up straight right now. Your spine and all the internal organs around it work best when it is lined up, balanced, vertically. But many of us have a tendency to slump into the horizontal plane. When we sit back up, there is an instant of relief, a feeling of rightness, a deeper breath. That instant is followed by some tension, because we have made a habit of the horizontal slump. The habit has invaded the musculature of our backs, so it becomes more difficult to do what we were made to do.tree light

But it’s worth it to do it anyway. We can establish a new habit of sitting tall, and our musculature will adapt, and we will be stronger and breathe more freely. Likewise, if we practice making friendly and respectful relationships with people of all ages (and colors and creeds), our community will be healthier, stronger, and more enjoyable as we begin to appreciate all those people who share our world. If we accept and practice forgiveness, with others, with a higher power, with ourselves, our hearts will be lighter. If we grow our food in relationship to the soil and the air and the whole universe, seen and unseen, our world will be fit for life in abundance, in balance, in beauty.

There’s plenty to be said about the effects of letting ourselves slide into existence on a purely horizontal plane.  I don’t really want to say all that.  It’s easy enough to see, everywhere.  It seems more important to affirm that verticality is worth the effort.

At least, that’s how it seems when I am picking the basil.sunset cloud 2

I would like to give credit to some of my thinking today to the following:

Robert Bly’s book The Sibling Society.

Rudolf Steiner’s work in creating Biodynamic Agriculture.

And Pastor Jason Roe for his effective sermon.

it’s about time

time 4It’s about time to dig those sweet potatoes.  Jewels waiting to be found under the soil.

It’s about time to throw a Biodynamic Conference.

It’s about time to mow down the rank growth of Summer, and feed it to the Fall. time 1

It’s about time to sow cover crops.  They need time to grow while the sun still shines.

It’s about time to be finished putting up food in the pantry and freezer.  Enough is enough.time 5

It’s about time to start eating some kale.

It’s about time to package up the seeds of the season.time 2

It’s about time to contemplate breeding the milk goat.

It’s about time to fix the chicken coop roof.

It’s about time to stack firewood, and cover it well, so it stays crispy dry.

It’s about time to pick up knitting needles again.

It’s about time plant the last of the cilantro and lettuce to see us into the winter.

And while I’m waiting for the watering can to fill, so I can water the freshly transplanted lettuce, I am tempted to walk away from the filling bucket, to use the time to do another thing on this endless list of things to do.  It’s about that time that a breeze hits my face.  The evening light sparkles through the trees.  My shoulders relax.  My spine lengthens.  I remember.  Once upon a time, I heard some wise men say that time is our own creation.

It’s about time.

It’s about time to just stand there, letting the watering can fill, with the sun and the breeze on my skin.

It’s about taking our own sweet time.

Making our own sweet time.

Making our own time sweet.

Oh, sweet time.time 3