You’re swimming. Your head is above water. But the current is strong and is sweeping you downstream faster than you want to admit to yourself. You’re fatigued, but know that until you reach calmer waters, you need to keep paddling just to keep your head above water. So you just keep paddling.
This is what the weeks feel like now. I heard a farmer friend call it the Julyvalanche. Everything is happening now. At the end of each day, I think the end of the week will be a break in action—a moment to relax and breath, but when Sunday arrives, there are always still things to do—house to clean, okra to pick, laundry to wash. And then Monday whirls around again like a riptide and we’re off again.
I know the shore will come. It always does. We never actually drown. By now, we are intimate with the cycles of farm life. And now, well, now is the Julyvalanche.
We like to put our rugged individualism on a pedestal in this country, but there’s a lot of comfort and security in a community. Just knowing others are there and have your back if things go awry. I’ve experienced this over and over in the farmers market community. Everyone is happy to help everyone else with the inevitable problems (running short of change, or bags, etc.) and even the unexpected problems like when we had a flat tire and our spare wouldn’t descend and Za lent us his spare tire so we would get our van to the mechanic! We’re constantly helping each other with tents, jumping dead car batteries, squeezing this way and that to make us all fit in. It’s the perfect example of the benefits of community.
The instinct to build community is in our bones. It’s the reasons our ancestors succeeded in passing along their genes to us and we know it. So we gather, break bread together, celebrate birthdays and holidays, mourn together, solve problems together, and just generally help each other. Because we know community is more important than our political differences, our religious differences, differences in appearance, any differences. Community is how we thrive in the best of times, and survive in the worst of times.
The best and most frustrating part of life is that there’s no end to learning and growing. It’s wonderful because I never get bored or stagnant. There’s always more to learn. It’s frustrating because quite frankly, things would go much smoother if I just knew it all already! And sometimes, I’d just like to feel like an “expert” instead of an imposter just making it up as I go along.
I used to think people didn’t change all that much. Then we were having this discussion about this the other day and most of us wagered that we were completely different people than we were ten years ago. So I thought back to ten years ago in my life. 2012 was a year of transformation for me—a virtual growth spurt. So yeah, I guess I emerged from the primordial goo of 2012 a bit of a new person-a better—more complete—version of myself. The new self is informed by the old self’s experiences, but I guess that does mean that I have changed quite a lot.
Humans seem to like consistency, so it’s kind of amazing that we can maintain relationships through all the drastic changes in each other. Our adaptability is incredible! I don’t know what any of this has to do with our nation’s celebration of our day of independence, but perhaps the country is not all that different than the people that make it. Perhaps the country learns and grows and adapts as well. I hope so. I hope the country emerges from the primordial goo of these years of division and tension and transforms into a better, more complete, version of itself.