From the first excited spring plowing, the tiny seeds nurtured in the greenhouse, the hours spent weeding and cultivating, irrigation tape laid out and repaired, water pumped thousands of feet to nourish healthy roots, to the harvest bins dragged alongside plants brimming over with bounty. The mud has warmed and dried, yielded a crop of rainbow-colored nutrition, and now grows cold again. Everything goes back to mud.
I have a few more weeks of digging up root vegetables and packing up the farm. Then the landscape which over the summer saw kids running through fields of flowers and farmers in sunglasses driving tractors carrying watermelons turns into pure tundra. Snow will drift through the fences and gates and dead tomato vines, the earthworms will burrow deep into the soil, and the deer, unhassled, will poke their antlers through the snow to graze on our rye. I will be warm and cozy, pouring through seed catalogs, adjusting the crop map, and reading books about soil health.
I wrote a poem for the occasion:
mourning doves, robins, nervous killdeer in the bean field
another generation, long ago grown feathers and fledged
empty farm without even crickets
sunny morning after a frost
life seems to have gone inside
or south on vacation
leaves are gone and far things seem closer
though open space feels larger, even more open
the urgent need to plow, to harrow, to cultivate
and in its place
a kind of comfort-seeking calm
the need now is to sit down smiling with friends
sharing hot food and drinks