Work Is Balm

I am struggling to find something to say in this moment. I want to write something true and urgent and inspiring. I would like to write that I am rising to the occasion—the heroic farmer, toiling on in the teeth of the plague.

The truth is, like everyone else, I am muddling through. Trying to get my work done. Trying to be resilient and generous and cheerful. Sometimes, even succeeding.

Luckily, the farm work is always there. Though the state has been in lockdown since Tuesday before last, farmers are considered essential personnel, so our work will go on apace. I was about to write that it will go on without hindrance, but that clearly will not be the case. Since January I have had all the supplies I will need to get the season going, but what it will take to keep the season going remains to be seen. But pandemic or no, my calling is to grow food for people. So that is what I am going to do, for as long as I can do it.

To be honest, thinking about farming through this crisis can be overwhelming. But a curious thing: When I stop thinking about the work and start doing the work, actually sinking my hands into the potting soil, pressing the little seeds into nursery flats, rooting cuttings, sprouting rhizomes—all the jobs required to make the springtime farm go—my troubled mind settles into the rhythm of the day’s work, and I am better.

The work is a balm. It gets me out of my head and into the world. That’s an old, old remedy, of course, at least as old as the fourth century, and I am grateful for it. May you find it too.