After milking Betty this morning… wandering up the hill past the jujubes, pears and pomegranates…. and saying hello to the still bleary eyed kiddos it was time venture back out to vent the high tunnel. It was still dark but the black of the night was giving way to gray dawn of 6:30 am light. I headed back down the hill, past the barn housing the still sleeping boys (praline, bopper and buccaneer) rounded the corner of a large sweetgum tree and was met by a caterpillar hanging from a silken thread. In the light of my headlamp I stopped and observed him (or her) as the caterpillar hung suspended in mid-air. I assume this very innovative creature was waiting for an ever so slight puff of morning wind to ride to some new batch of tasty foliage. It hung there on its almost invisible string tied off to some branch overhead and I couldn’t help but marvel at its patience. How long had he (or she) been hanging there? What if there is no wind today? I mused on this subject for a small amount of time and decided I needed to get done with my task and get back to house to help Harmony with the seemingly endless task of every day morning chores. I left the hanging caterpillar and continued on to the high tunnel, opened up the first side and was greeted by the amazing rush of inside air. The air from the high tunnel (after being closed up all night) is a sensuous humid mixture of plant, decaying material, soil and warmth. I imagined the strawberry plants breathing a sigh of relief in being alleviated from the warm humid air and moved over to vent the other side of the high tunnel. After this brief respite from the full day ahead I wandered back up the hill, back past the jujubes, pears and pomegranates and into the house to snuggle on the babies before heading out to school and work.
This brief but welcome time of reflection refreshes in my mind every day that farming/gardening is not some task that we take on to produce food. It is a cultivation of an entire ecosystem. An ecosystem which hopefully will be better off when I am no longer a part of it.
In our crazy and hectic lives, how often do we stop and observe that caterpillar so patiently hanging from its silken thread or even just to smell the roses or as Langston Hughes so brilliantly wrote…….”Let the rain kiss us!”
Dylan and Harmony, whichever of us have the time to sit down and write for a few minutes. : )