Plants and People Growing on the Farm

Plants and People Growing on the Farm

That strange march of time has caught me on the back foot once again, and on Tuesday I found myself celebrating my 27th birthday. Put like that, it sounds like I was dreading it, but it’s quite the opposite – I feel more myself at this age than I have at any other. Maybe it’s from being told I have an old soul one too many times, or perhaps that everyone says I look just like my mother, but whatever it is, I like this feeling. A sort of settling into myself, an ease I think I’m only just finding the edges of.

I’ve spent so much time looking for places I’ve grown. Is my hair a little longer? My arms a little stronger? How about my vocabulary, has that grown? How are my multiplication tables doing? I watch myself like all the adages say not to watch a pot of boiling water – waiting for some sign. But these days the quality of my attention has changed, less scrutinizing more welcoming. I have Red Dog to thank for that.

Every morning, my drive takes me past the mouth of Quilcene Bay, cupped between a spit of land that separates it from Dabob Bay and the broad expanse of the Olympics. Nearly every morning (and most evenings on my drive home) I find myself coming to a near complete stop, the quiet road empty of traffic, the hum of the engine low against the backdrop of birdsong and water. It should come as no surprise that I have a folder in my phone of some 50 odd photos of that exact bend in the road. But I can’t help myself! Each day I spy some new wonder to pause and admire. A recent favorite has been the arrival of the red-winged blackbirds, who swing low over the fields and perch on posts, their red shoulders bright against the morning mist. And that’s only my commute.

The farm is alive with change – I couldn’t even begin to tell you every part of the endless tapestry of growth that rolls out every day, but I will try to give you a taste. You see it in your CSA totes – the April totes with their first flush of spring, and the shift from overwintered carrots to the delicate baby bunches arriving now. The grasses have grown long in the neighbor’s field, and they move under the same breeze that cools us while we transplant cucumbers – a summer herald. We can no longer rely on Washington’s rain to keep our plants watered, so we shift irrigation lines from bed to bed to keep them happy.

Watching everything unfold has been a strange boon – there is a kindness in me that I did not allow before, a gentleness I’ve turned back onto myself that feels grounded in the growth of the farm. I am building and re-building myself every day. Where there is mending to be done, I pick up my (metaphorical) needle and thread, and when something isn’t working, I try not to point fingers but untangle what has snagged and start again. It’s how we do it on the farm.

I am very young and still learning how to live, but I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Red Dog for the help it has (unknowingly) offered, and the tools it has put in my hands and sent me off to do good work.