Monday, September 6, 2010

The Uncertainty of Paradise, Revisited

On May 30, I posted a blog about our friends, Brian and Nancy, who basically left their day jobs behind to become organic farmers up in Paradise, California. This past weekend, Kathy and I went to visit them again. This has been a tough year for their little farm. Erratic weather, the vagaries of seed quality, the need to experiment and sometimes fail with new crops, and on top of all the rest, the death of Brian's father, have made things more uncertain than ever.

At one point, however, Brian waxed philosophically about everything. We had been awakened several times last night by the sound of strong winds. Sure enough, upon inspecting their property in the light of morning, Brian discovered that about sixty feet of fencing had been blown down. If it wasn't repaired quickly, it would serve as an open invitation for the families of deer in that area to avail themselves of the freshest salad bar in town.

A half-day's work repairing the fence loomed before them, along with the expense of replacing posts, connectors, and other hardware. And they still had to harvest the produce for tomorrow's farmer's market. Eventually, Brian said, "You know, when you look at all the things you have to do before you do them, they look so daunting. Then afterward, you hardly remember them as being a big deal."

"A Farm-Picture"
by Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Through the ample open door of the peaceful country barn,
A sunlit pasture field with cattle and horses feeding,
And haze and vista, and the far horizon fading away.

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