On Saturday, my friend Jimi C and I held a listening party for the release of our first rap record, entitled That Thirst. Hometown and college friends trickled in through all hours of the afternoon, and as evening settled into night, an increasing air of anticipation bordering on impatience took over the space – not the least from Jimi C. When are we going to listen? Hold on, I kept telling him, not everyone is here yet. They’re coming though; believe me.

And come they did. Sometime after dark, Monica and Corrina rolled in quietly, followed shortly thereafter by the rest of the raucous crew –soil-caked hands, suntanned skin, sweaty farm attire, and brilliant glow of wholesome work and shared company. Sorry we’re late, they said, but the peas had to get into the ground.

I didn’t mind one bit. In that moment, in fact, I realized for the first time how proud I am to consider myself one of these folks who work the whole day in the hot sun, and roll unabashedly dirty and hungry to a party to support their friend, eat massive quantities of food, take in a rap record mindfully, and hang out and chat for hours thereafter, comfortable as can be. Every single one of them showed up to listen, and that means the world to me.

The experience of sharing a deeply personal, dark and heavy exploration with 25 of my closest friends was unexpectedly draining, as months and months of mental and emotional toil, anticipation and curation was unloaded suddenly on a room of unsuspecting, but willing folks. Having finally shared this burden of creation, I felt drained but somehow lightened, as if I’d shed a skin and readied myself to start anew. And somehow, deep inside, I knew exactly where that start awaited me.

I rose very early Sunday morning and reached the greenhouse as the first rays of sun met the sacred space. Overtaken by the quiet, I moved slowly and purposefully through the space- watering, observing, and appreciating the quiet contentedness of the growing plants. From there, I hit the highway towards the still morning fields of Rising Sand Organics.

I got there and just broadforked. No setup required; no music; no podcast; no distraction; just work. My mind wandered and my body worked. For the first hour, I craved some mental distraction as my body’s rhythm faltered, but as I worked through it, my mind slowed and my body settled into a flow. I lost myself in the process, floating slowly up and down the field as the morning heat gradually set in. From the top of the hill, I looked down upon the land I love and share with seven of my closest companions. I reveled in the satisfying burn of the work, and the thirst of the day. I basked in the freedom from myself, and liberation from the project in which I’d been immersed for so long.

I found true freedom there – the freedom of the daily grind; the morning chores; the hard work necessary and craved; the silence; the stillness; the life and the space. The dog and the cats were there, and Logan was there, and all we had was dirt, tarps, forks and work, and that’s the type of freedom that can’t be taken from us. That is the fresh start, and that is liberation.