Wednesday, October 7, 2009

running contradiction

This evening Julie asked us to spend some time thinking about when in the last two months of being Abundant Table Farm Project interns we have felt most alive. For me, the answer is the times like this morning when I have been most conscious of being in balance, of having hit on the right combination of work, play, and rest. And finding that space here on the Farm has so much to do with the physicality of life here - weeding, harvesting, washing veggies, and then doing yoga to stretch out the resulting sore muscles. We've started to joke about telling our subscribers, "Don't join the gym, Join the Farm!" because we've all felt the benefits of our work in the 10 acres.

After spending four years in college generally ignoring my need for physical activity and sleep in favor of my need to finish papers and study for exams, I love spending part of every day working with my hands, and the chance to look back on a well-weeded row and feel an immediate sense of accomplishment. Still, I'm reminded every day I take a break from working on the 10 acres that the overly mind-oriented existence is not the only imbalance. I've continued taking runs in the neighborhood on my "days off", more because I enjoy it than for the exercise, and any direction I turn out of our driveway takes me past fields already full of farmworkers at 7 am. I'm self-conscious jogging by, knowing that even though I am working on a farm for this period of time, I come from a socioeonomic class that must schedule and even pay for physical activity to burn off extra calories. What a stark contrast to the hundreds of people I pass who are often valued for little more than their manual labor, the more machine-like the better.

The Farm is somewhere physically and metaphorically between the two worlds of only-head and only-hands, trying to create a space for both and conversations and eventually relationships between them. It is a space where people like me, who have never taken part in the work involved in growing food, can get used to having dirt under their fingernails, and a space also to honor those who feed this country and give them better access to its fruits. It is in this meeting place that I feel alive.

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