There’s a certain intuition that precedes the start of a newly undertaken venture; a knowing, deep within, that a welcoming has taken place. The only decision is whether to heed the call, or pretend we hadn’t heard. A year ago, my wife and I were beckoned by the call of a young, moustached Danny W.; welcoming us to a world yet uninhabited, only imagined. At the time, we knew little more than that we had enjoyed our farming experiences in the past, that we liked Danny W, and that it couldn’t hurt to talk.
What we did not know was the action that talk would come to demand of us. We did not know the lengths to which we would stretch to balance the roles of full-time employment and farm co-ownership. We did not know the healing power of good company and meaningful recreation, and the fruitfulness and meaning our lives would come to take on, resulting directly and indirectly from that initial welcoming of what would come to be Rising Sand Organics.
I spent the day with Danny W. yesterday, and a blustery day it was. Having slept in, and running groggily behind, I stepped out of the bathroom in my robe and pajama pants, and there he was — geared up in hat and gloves for a cold day on the farm. My wife was in the kitchen frying some pancakes and, in customary fashion, we jumped into a hearty and humorous discussion on all things political to philosophical. Having gotten our fill of coffee, delightful pancakes, scrambled eggs and conversation, we bundled up and headed out to Rising Sand to put the finishing touches on the pack shed, finally, after all of these months of speculation. In the wind, rain, sleet, and eventual snow, Danny and I drilled, laddered, balanced and grunted our way to a completed packshed, as the work and the conversation took on tones more serious.
But completed it was not to be. Having drilled in all the carriage bolts, and placed and attached all of the remaining tin pieces to the roof, we found that we were, hilariously, one tin section short of a completed roof, leaving a conspicuously awkward gap on the most visible corner of the packshed. Well, what the hell? By this time, the rain had turned to snow, our fall energy reserve was cashed, and we were cold. So we hopped into Danny’s car and said goodbye to a project yet incomplete, a farm season yet incomplete, and an abstract and morphing vision which will likely never be complete.
And we’ve all been talking about the vision and future of Rising Sand Organics. This year, we set out to grow and sell vegetables, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. The toll it took, however — mentally, physically, and interpersonally – has left nary a one among us willing to replicate the effort for another season. So we’ve got no choice but to ask some questions. What is Rising Sand Organics? What can Rising Sand do for us, individually and collectively? How can it fit into the fabric of our larger lives, and what ultimate impact do we want to have? Many ideas and potential directions have sprouted forth from the speculation. Maybe we should focus in on perennials, and outside business tie-in. Maybe we should accelerate our animal husbandry and eventually set up a small-scale dairy. Maybe we should install a certified kitchen on-site. Maybe we should establish some housing.
Maybe maybe maybe. It’s great to dream; vital to vision, but maybe we should finish the packshed roof. Maybe we should move some hoophouses. Maybe we should build a wallapini or two. Hell, maybe we should clean up a bit.
But, most likely we will rest. Having heeded the call of welcoming, we’ve made our beginning, and come to a juncture of incompleteness we must accept as our infinite destiny. An intense and awesome season it has been, and a motley crew of characters we have proven to be. My amusement has been trumped only by my gratitude for the work, the stories and the company. The blessings have been expansive, and the narration a pleasure. Incomplete though the story may be, I too must rest. It’s time for some silence and stillness, for who knows what new welcomings may be waiting patiently there?