The Sum of our Energies

There has been a noticeable upswing in energy at RSO as of late, due in part to increased student involvement, as well as enhanced understandings stemming from the Saturday Board Meeting. Our weekly planning meeting affirmed the necessity of this energy, as we surrounded ourselves with yet another chaotic white board wall before coming to the startling realization that we have to prep and plant as many bed feet in this week as we’ve done this whole season thus far (12,790 feet). While most of the upcoming crops make for much easier planting than the onions we’ve been moving around forever, there remains the necessity of extensive broadforking, composting, and bed shaping; and the week ahead seemed no less imposing than the week prior as we broke it down to daily tasks.

Even so, the meeting held an air of lightness, and the energy was positive: discussion rolled smooth, there were surprisingly few Oren/Polly debates, and even those took on a feel of playfulness rather than combat. The moment even came – believe it or not – when the two reached the same conclusion at exactly the same time. “Wow,” Polly remarked, as Oren finished his idea. “I was just thinking that exact same thing!” It was magical, and for a moment time stood still. Rather than abandoning us, as most do, the moment hung around straight through to the meeting’s conclusion. While Oren, Polly and I chatted and wiped down the walls, Oren leveled a joke so lame it cannot justifiably be included on this page. Polly, however, cracked up hysterically, and the two lovers shared a hearty laugh as I made my swift departure, happily leaving them to their momentary state of relationship bliss.

This energy seemed to carry through to Tuesday, and I was surprised to see all members (sans Monica) on-site at RSO when I pulled in after work. Raring to roll, I jumped on a broadfork and hopped into the bed next to Dan’s, and we resumed our customary traveling conversation as we crept up and down 100-foot bed after 100-foot bed; 8-bed plot after 8-bed plot. While we forked, plants were planted; compost spread; plans made; and water consumed, as the nine of us worked tirelessly through the hot afternoon, spurred on by the energy of the group and the noticeable transformation of the beds we occupied.

My broadfork carried me for a surprising 6 hours, and by the time I finally crept to the last foot on the last bed, my body was strongly suggesting a change in activity. My back ached; my hands were torn and splintered, and my legs shaky. Kelly, however, kept on Bucket-Dogging as she’d been doing since before I arrived: bucket after bucket of compost to the farthest field and back up the hill, as the team behind her laid and planted lettuce heads, herbs, peppers, basil, and kale. Her energy sustained me through the afternoon and into the evening as she persisted through exhaustion: face dirtying and eyes glazing progressively with every trip up and down the long, gentle hill. All the while, Fanni and Corrina formed a dynamic planting duo, bent over the tiny beacons of life for hour after hour, carried by conversation and fellowship, straightening occasionally to stretch their backs and reset their minds. Polly meanwhile moved from task to task with steady pace and steadfast determination, and Logan Brice did Logan Brice.  Altogether, we put forth an effort that was greater than the sum of our individual energies, and though our pace slowed as the evening crept in, we remained steady in our roles, and productive in our quest.

Towards the end of the evening we all met in the middle and finished laying and planting intermittent peppers and basil, beneath the shimmering moon and gentle breeze of nightfall. Finally, we stood, took in our day’s work, and made our way slowly towards the vehicles, cleaning up and shutting down as we went. The final task was to back the trailer of plants into the shed for warmth over the night, and by the time this was done, Oren’s general saltiness towards the world mirrored my own, and I decided it was probably time to go. Fanni and I reveled in the transformation as we eyed the south side of the driveway on our way out. “Wow, that was a good day of work.” she remarked, and we took to a verbal admiration of every person’s contribution. Given the nature of our plan and current workload, we’re going to need to string a few of these days together, and I hope that the sum of our energy continues to carry us through.