What I talk about when I talk about farming

November 15, 2019

What I talk about when I talk about farming

A few weeks ago, I spent the morning at a friend’s farm. We walked the fields, watching the day take shape. And, like we usually do when we get together, we talked.

This time, we were talking about something so basic that it’s hard to put into words. Somehow, in our meandering conversation, we started talking about what is real.

What is real?

I’m not good at thinking about these kinds of things in an abstract way. My mind shies away from it. In that moment, though, what was real was the time we were spending together, the space we were sharing. Our conversation was real, as was the connection it reinforced. We couldn’t agree on a simple definition of real except that the pursuit of that question - the sharing of stories, and the support in navigating - was critical.

The conversation could have veered off into the metaphysical, but instead I felt grounded by it. It helped me grow deeper roots into what’s right here beneath my feet. When I focus on what’s around me, what’s in front of me, I stay centered.

So what’s real? I don’t have a good answer for you, except to say that I felt the cold air on my face this morning, and smelled the frost. I touched a sprouting plant and its leaves were impossibly soft. The sun illuminated the greenhouse. For a single, crystalline moment, I was nowhere but here, now. That feels pretty real to me.

- Farmer and Cultivator