Monday, October 26, 2015

Realm of Peace and Content

I realize that our farm probably doesn't qualify as a 'garden' anymore and is more appropriately called a 'farm.'  Even so, I will proudly wear the name of 'farmer' or 'gardener' if others feel it is appropriate.  The responsibility of actively caring for the land and the things that grow and live on it (and in it) is difficult, rewarding, tiring, fulfilling, frustrating, interesting, relentless,  and, above all, diverse.

If I were asked to differentiate between farmer and gardener, I might be tempted to point to the words with some negative connotation (difficult, tiring, frustrating, relentless) simply because the act of growing for others on a larger scale than a 'garden' entails a certain undertone of worry/concern/stress that pervades every moment on the farm.  The key descriptor for me is 'relentless.'  Once you start down the path of growing on a diverse farm like ours, you don't have the option of delaying things until you feel like doing it.  Don't take this wrong.  There are always choices to be made and there is always some level of flexibility.  In fact, it is valid to make the choice to NOT do something as long as you know that the consequence is the potential loss of a crop (for example).

I've been a fan of Tolkien Lord of the Rings for a very long time and I have read the books more times than I can remember.  The wonderful thing about the books is that I can re-read them and find something new that speaks to me in a way it hasn't before.  Perhaps that says more about me than it does about Tolkien, but that isn't what matters here.
"Your land must be a realm of peace and content, and there must gardners be in high honour."
 J.R.R. Tolkien in The Two Towers

And, this is where I want to make sure I never completely shed the name "gardener."  What are some of the things that drew us to this vocation in the first place?  Do we not still enjoy hearing the birds sing and feeling the breeze on our faces while we do some task in the fields that requires the use of our bodies and hands?  Have we stopped taking moments to view a flower or two and acknowledge the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds that move among them?  Isn't there still a sense of satisfaction when you harvest some beautiful heads of cauliflower or you smell the basil as you walk next to it?

Yes.  There is still a sense of peace and contentment on the farm.  It's there for the taking.  You just need to allow yourself to recognize and accept it.

"The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm;
 his own hands to use..."  
J.R.R. Tolkien about Samwise Gamgee in Return of the King

There is a sense of place and belonging that comes with the farm (or garden).  Perhaps this is not true for everyone since I am aware of many people who have declared to me and others that gardening is something they NEVER want to do.  But, for someone like me, the garden helps me to find my place again.  It may not be the small garden alluded to for Mr. Gamgee, but it is always a good reminder that there is reward in working with what you have in the best ways you know how.  It is also a good thing to reflect on what we do on our farm frequently so we can see the positive things that happen and accept what we have as what is good enough for us.  Of course, this does not mean that we won't look at opportunities and assess them as we always have.  But, there is a difference between looking carefully at opportunity versus belittling that which is in front of you because you think you want something else.

Pardon me, but I need to go out and survey my realm of peace and content now.

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