After a long, exhausting, and challenging (but successful!) week where this farm sent out a record amount of food, I was hoping to wake up to a slow news day on Sunday. Alas, in a world full of love and good people, hate still claims the news and forces our attention on the horrible. It engages our fascination with the abomination (credit to Joseph Conrad for the phrase) and, if we’re not careful, lands us deep in a tar pit of despair over the state of humanity.
And so once again, we retreated to the river for some nature immersion with the wonderful, kind, and generous fellow river-loving people who continuously welcome us into their world with gentle, open arms. We returned to the farm Sunday evening full of gratitude, love, and hope for our fellow human beings.
The truth, that we so often need reminded of because our brains are wired to emphasize the negative and bad news is what keeps us watching or listening, is that we’re surrounded by good people committing random acts of kindness all around us all the time. Our minds can so easily skip right over the held door, the small smile, the car that stopped to let us into the traffic flow. But if we just shift our focus a little bit, we’ll see that this is the actual reality around us: kindness and humanity are our “normal”.
This weekend, I saw a reunion between a 23 year old and his 6th grade school teacher. Maybe 6th grade was too young to feel this way, but I would have wanted to impress her—or at least not disappoint her. I often wonder about some of my teachers, especially English teachers, who interact with their former students in the age of social media. Are they disappointed? Impressed? Do they feel like it reflects on them at all?
All this is in focus for us this week because our mentor farmers are coming for a visit. Suddenly, we’re eyeing up every escaped weed, every evidence of disorganization, every problem and needed repair with laser vision like those things might take precedence over this week’s planting schedule. They won’t, but we might kick in a few extra hours in the evenings to at least hide them 😊.
I mean, we’re proud of how far we’ve come with the knowledge our elders passed along to us, but can’t help but want to impress them with all we’ve learned from them and where we took their ideas and systems and ran with them. We want to reflect well on them. We want them to be impressed by their own teaching skills. And so we find ourselves once again, like nail biting school children on test day—did we learn it well enough to get that coveted sticker from the teacher??