The intersection of work and friendship has proven itself an interesting space to navigate thus far in the growing life of Rising Sand Organics. The season, loathe as I am to admit, is dragging on, leaving a residue of jadedness around the organization as a whole. As the repetitive harvest days sludge along and my colleagues work long weeks shoulder-to-shoulder and ear-to-ear, an understandable social claustrophobia seems to have set in, challenging the structural fabric behind our operations. Overwhelmingly, it seems, we just need a break — a break from the farm’s monotony and monopoly on our time; a break from exhausting and repetitive work weeks, and, ultimately, a break from each other.
Personally, however, my limited 20-hour/week farm commitment shields me largely from the deeper relational fissures creeping among my colleagues, leaving communication open with all parties. Relationships unstrained, I get the story from all angles, and generally understand and empathize with all perspectives. Half of us, it seems, require a greater level of sensitivity in communication; half demand greater efficiency in our procedures. Half of us are sick of giving orders; the other half sick of listening. Half are offended; half defensive. Half literally sick; other half divided between annoyance, ambivalence and compassion. All increasingly exhausted, disenchanted, and ready for a change of pace.
Which isn’t all too surprising. It’s been a long summer now, and tensions and disagreements are are bound to arise between any working group, especially friends who happen also to be colleagues. But as our entire existence is based upon and structured around equitable, positive and fruitful working relationships, what is our fate when said relationships break down?
Thankfully, as we navigate this intersection, a greater, equally subtle intersection has fallen into place around us, and begun to encompass space within us. This is the inevitable intersection between summer and fall. As the merciless afternoon sun and ceaseless days of summer yield to the crisp evenings and bright moons of fall, the change has fallen upon us as well, nearly beneath our comprehension. Somewhere among the humidity of tensions, the natural world has restored balance, and brought forth a breath of crisp, cool relief, backing us thankfully away from the fault line of fracture towards which we crept.
Even Lotus the Dog feels the change, it seems, and his intermittent bursts of puppy-dog energy are peppered with focused relaxation in the garden beds we’ve no longer got the energy to kick him out of. Plus, with school back in session, some life balance has been restored to the students, and conversational space has opened in the absence of a longer-winded faction of our work force. Finally, earlier sunsets dictate earlier quit-times, and the cool night air lends itself well to peaceful sleeping and restful minds. Though we’ve had our struggles, it seems we’ve survived the worst, and I think we’ll be okay. We’ve been rescued from the fall, it seems, by the fall.