The Return of the W. (Changes)


I hate to admit this, but I’ve been missing Oren Jakobson lately. It’s true. There’s just something about the old dog that keeps me coming back, and after a separation of over a week, I finally broke down and gave him a call yesterday. We chatted about his law school semester, got into his cider business a bit, and affirmed that we’d meet again in the flesh on Friday for harvest. The conversation was expectedly awkward and unexpectedly brevitous, ending before we managed to garner any real momentum. However, having gotten my fix, I returned to my business a happier man. Still, though, as I finished up my kitchen work for the day, I felt a strange, inexplicable void. Something was still missing.

Then, pulling into Rising Sand in the afternoon, a skinny, hatted figure popped up from a crouch amont a plot of tangled weeds and began fist-pumping in my direction. Excited, but uncertain, I continued down the driveway until I could clearly make out the moustache. It was Danny W, live and in the flesh after hisweeklong hiatus. God, was I excited to see that man.

See, Danny’s been under the unique and unfortunate circumstance of contracting an illness rendering him unfit for farmwork and food handling for the last week. His absence from Rising Sand, though slightly less conspicuous, has been every bit as tangible and detrimental as Oren’s. Though we missed him, and he missed us, the rest had obviously done him well, and he had the presence of a new man after a few days’ worth of riverside sunsets, bike rides, and introspection.

So we jumped into the weeds and got to business digging drip irrigation lines out from the tangled, desolate remains of the onion beds. It was a tedious and thankless task, but I embellished the aura and presence of this new and improved Danny W. as we caught up, as we so often do, on the imminent change setting in around us — vaguely perceptible, but always beyond the grasp of identification.

It seems that Danny and I may have both felt, at the beginning of the season and before, that farming was to be our destiny and fulfillment, thus answering for now the impatient and omnipresent call of change. However, destiny does not stop; identity is not fixed, and we’re finding again that a new, unexpected horizon lies before us.

And we have both, it seems, come to the same conclusion. It’s time to take this to another level. We need to work on feeding the hungry. Though we’re growing plenty of food, and can pat ourselves on the back all that we want, the fact remains that we’re not really impacting that which needs to be impacted. We’re not feeding the hungriest people in our community. For me, the firsthand knowledge of the leftovers and waste from our farm this season, coupled with awareness of Stevens Point’s rampant food insecurity, drives my desire to turn waste and leftovers into free, wholesome meals. For Danny, the mesh of cultures and circles holds infinite value, and we stand to learn a great deal from interaction with people outside our community’s circles of affluence.

A novel idea it is not. It will, however, require a certain amount of dedication and coordination, and in this realm we focused; excitedly flushing out details and feeding off each other’s energy as the sun receded, the air cooled, and the sky darkened around us. Hunched down, trudging through the weeds, we hashed out our dream of coordinating this mystery meal; thus taking the next crucial step on the road of destiny and necessity. What the fate of our idea will be, I’ve not a clue. I can say with certainty, however, that I’ve got a great deal of love for Danny W.