Inflection Point

What makes August hard is the growing weight of the season’s accumulating failures. In a big, complicated machine like a diversified organic vegetable farm, there are bound to be at least a few things that go sideways. Somewhere Wendell Berry writes about how each growing season is bound by the contingency of creatures, and how at some point one has to trade the vision for what could have been for the acceptance of what is. For me, that inflection point arrives sometime in August.

And right now it feels like a great many things have gone sideways. We’ve lost a few crops to weeds. And when I say lost, I mean that literally, as in, “Where did that succession of beans go?” A few crops are under heavy disease and pest pressure, and time to respond to those pressures is short. So we’re in full triage mode, prioritizing the work that will make the most difference, and letting go of the rest.

Even so, we find ourselves amidst abundance. The generous earth yields its gifts. Each day we find numberless things to delight our senses, from the few sunflowers the deer didn’t eat in riotous bloom to the sweet melons hiding in the pigweed and foxtail sedge. And as summer fades into fall, we remember that this all is a limited time offer, and that the time for feasting is now.