The meat of this post was written on the last day of August, but it wasn’t completed and published until today =)
It’s a late August morning, my partner rises to milk cows and I quickly follow, out of bed and into the garden. The carrot beds need to be thinned and weeded. First things first, I drink a jar full of water and decide to not bring my hat. I won’t be out long and the Sun is short.
Entering the Lower Garden I notice a ruby-throated hummingbird, a very common bird to see in the gardens and community proper in the summer. My natural reaction is to grab for my camera, which isn’t there. My East Wind field guide is still missing a good shot of a hummingbird. I stand and watch as it flits to and fro among the tops of some young fruit trees. It is joined by a partner. They face each other for a second, saying hello, and then burst away. Together in flight, sharing this beautiful Life.
I think on this experience as I tend to the carrots. I think about this place, this land, and eventually, this outlet. How can I convey what I observe, what I feel? Through the lens of a camera? Via the English language? It all feels quite inadequate at times. And then I stop thinking. The presence that fills me in these moments brings a sense of calm. A wonderful feeling of reprieve from anxious worry. I can only document pieces of it. I can only express it in imperfect form, for there is no substitute for direct experience.
And now, as I sit at my desk writing this I see my day ahead. Customer inquiries to be answered, business decisions to be made, water meter reading around 9:30AM, weightlifting and filming before lunch, getting everything caught up and then spending the late afternoon and evening back with the carrots. Right here, I decide to take a break from writing.
What seemed to be shaping up to be a fairly routine day gets spiced up by a slew of unexpected events. The truck bringing in an order of forty thousand 16oz glass jars, soon to be filled with nut butters, is a couple inches too short for our dock and the first couple pallets can’t be lifted easily. Fran and I help Brian, the warehouse manager, jack up the pallets to the point where he can catch them with the forklift’s forks. I grab a jar of cashew butter to give as a gift to the waiting truck driver. The morning peanut roasting shift is in process and while I’m helping Brian I get hailed down from the factory, another hand is needed. I recruit one of our newer members, who happens to be walking by and has some free time, to help out. After dealing with these two business operation matters, I walk to the dormitory where I live and encounter a housemate I’m not necessarily on the best terms with. We talk, for the first time in a while, and both agree we want to reduce the tension between us. Living together isn’t always easy and maintaining relationships takes thoughtfulness and consideration.
It is days like this that fill me with an energetic verve, a fresh zest for life. Routine has its place, but living at East Wind is anything but routine. My experiences in this place have allowed my world to flourish in ways most unexpected. I’ve lived here long enough now to feel established and know I’m building a world of even greater possibilities. When I first came here over three and a half years ago, I didn’t know a single person living at East Wind or who had even been to East Wind. Making that leap into the unknown was the best decision of my life. This place is what you make of it, I offer no guarantees.
Finishing this piece, I am sitting at a new and temporary desk in my hometown of Erie. I’m taking several weeks away from the farm to help my father. Still working remotely in a number of ways. Helping with business concerns, revising our website, and attempting to edit together a number of videos about the things you can learn at East Wind. The flexibility of being your own boss is quite nice and I appreciate the ability to travel when I desire. Living in the city reminds of me of how spoiled I am at East Wind: dinner prepared daily, clean well water, the gardens, the creek and the forest. The food truly is incomparable and my digestive health shows the difference in quality. I must value this time away to gain new perspective and get some special projects done, but I miss home and cell phones are a poor way of maintaining intimate connection.
This post will be the last from me for at least a month. The YouTube rollout is coming, stay tuned!
Post and picture by Sumner