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Junk Season

Around here we call this "junk season".


Junk season doesn't come at the same time each year--it arrives when the snow departs. And suddenly all these little things (junk) that were covered with snow show up again. No matter how rigorously we tidy in the late fall, there are always things being dropped and blown and then erased, never to bee seen till spring.


When you have several months of winter...a lot of little things can make their way into the snow banks only to be revealed in spring. All at once. The pure white snow gives way to mud speckled with junk. How lovely.


It's also MUD season. Everything feels kinda dirty and grimy as the mud cakes and sticks to whatever your working with. Farming is already a dirty job (don't be fooled by the pretty instagram pictures--there is lots of dirt and poop involved. So much so that you sometimes despair of even bothering to wash your hands. Lets just say that April showers sure ain't as delightful as May flowers.


But the greenhouse is a sort of sanctuary at this time. In there everything is perfect for life: moist, warm, earthy and colorful with a diffused light bathing everything in tranquility. And have I mentioned that the greenhouse is basically full already? Yeah. We've been diligently starting our seeds and man is that place filling up with just germinated cells of new life!


Sometimes we get into the habit of thinking about food like its a "thing". Like it's an "object" or something inert. But it really isn't! Its alive! Very much alive and changing and moving even. In some ways its even more like a scene--its mesmerizing and shimmering as it stays the same but changes all the time.


Most people only encounter their food in a dead state. Which means they encounter it in a very diminished state. True, it is still beautiful and colorful and flavorful and those things are often quite stunning, but it is still a corpse compared to its living state.


Most people also only encounter their food for a very short period of time. Rapturous as cooking and eating might be, the relationship is fairly brief--unless your pickle something...then its a bit prolonged (though in a weird and distorted kind of way). How much does the coroner really know his subjects compared to their companion from youth?


It is really a bit difficult to reconcile the difference between "food" and the living entities on the farm that we tend to each day. We're dealing with sensitive flesh that has preferences and comfort zones and endures stress and overcomes challenges. The plants and animals are needy and beautiful and responsive.


Working with plants and animals can stir up complicated feelings in us like guilt if we fail them or pride in their vigor. We have a responsibility to them that we enter into when we consciously begin their life. Its kinda weird to think of them as just so many bushels of oddly shaped colorful things.


Relationship changes everything.


And LETTING yourself into a relationship with something like a plant is also weird.


But I think it might also be extremely healthy. Because when you look at the world like so much dead rock dust and gas it becomes just a pile of objects for you to do whatever you want with. There is no check for your ego or will. You can't really abuse a pile of sand.


But when you KNOW a living thing and see it as alive--separate but similar, then your feelings get involved and everything becomes complicated and beautiful or tragic.


Its the switch from seeing everything as an "it" to a "thou". From seeing all things indifferently as stuff vs. seeing all things as sacred.


Personally I'd like to see the world as a holy temple or icon. Not just a lifeless pile of muddy junk for doing whatever I please with.


I think I will stop there. I feel as if I am nudging up against things too great and deep for the blogosphere. Some things should only be discussed after a big meal with kin and a glass of wine and the glow of candles.


But just remember: Your food is flesh from a (previously) living thing. Something had to die for you to stay alive. And it might be worth finding out how your food was treated while it lived....was it loved or was it (ab)used?


Everything turns on affection.


Tell next time,

Joel






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