The Value of a Blessing
The early morning greenhouse is a sacred place. If alone and still in the first rays of reaching sun, surrounded by tiny green beacons of new life, the subtle sanctity is impossible to ignore. Blessed with the luxury of time on Monday morning, I walked slowly between tables, running my hands through the seas of shapely and lively greens, doing my best to convey some sort of love they may understand and carry forth through the season; into the outside world which awaits them.
My peace was peppered, oddly, with thoughts economic. The tight margins of our operation have been forefront on my mind as I’ve worked the financial books in preparation of a Board Report. As I wandered, connecting spiritually with our plants, my mind wandered toward the odd intersection of profit and spirit. Time spent idly with the plants, void of profit motive, expressing focused emotion, gratitude and love, has a positive impact on the lives and well-being of those plants. About this, I’m quite certain. I’m equally certain that the enhanced well-being of those plants adds immense practical and inherent value to the economic well-being of our farm. What, then, I couldn’t help but wonder, is the true value of a blessing?
I’ve been thinking about the absence of ceremony in American farming culture. How can we carry forth, season after season, so utterly dependent upon the land and plants with which we coexist, and never set aside time to connect on a spiritual, ceremonial basis? How can we continue to take for granted that any of this is actually ours; that we have any right to ownership, mastery, dominance, or superiority? How can we so blindly neglect the true beauty of coexistence; of shared dependence, with beings so simply complex, beautiful and powerful? And why, for that matter, would we want to?
Probably it’s a matter of time. Time, time is money and there’s no time to connect. The profits are too small and the workload too great. Yield is King Ruler and we’ve got work to do. These things are all true.
The thought later crossed my mind that those plants were actually blessing me. There I basked in their vibrance; soaking in their oxygen and liveliness, as awake as I’ve been in many months, thinking I was the purveyor of some kind of blessing. I was not. What had actually taken place was a conversation; a meeting on some elemental level of consciousness, beyond the grasp of coordinated communication, but embodied in the form of shared silence and stillness.
A while later, Asher showed up. We rotated the tables, then began watering. A while after that, Polly showed up. We seeded kohlrabi: 4 trays; 144 cells; 576 plants. I found myself deeply immersed in the simple procedure: mindful of the depths, seed placement, potting soil compaction, and light coverage of the placed seeds. This is important, I realized. Each of these seeds is a life, which we’ve been given the opportunity to usher to a new form of existence. It may be our duty as farmers to slow ourselves to a depth beyond ownership or management; to a state of true shared interaction with the life forms and land upon which we depend for our very existence, and which depend upon us in return. We are blessed to do so.