Gratitude Walk

All summer and fall we have been moving at a rapid clip around here. Between the farm season and my fall book tour for A Little Bit of Land, the year has flown by. After several years of hunkering down on the farm, it feels good to be normal again (more or less) and see people in person, but I also miss the quiet and gentle pace of life that went with sheltering in place. I promised myself I would not forget those lessons, even in the hustle of post-pandemic life.

Our Thanksgiving was mellow. The girls were under the weather (not covid-19), so we decided to keep ourselves close to home instead of attending a family gathering. It was a last minute decision. We ended up buying a turkey and a Christmas tree on the same day and I enjoyed the spontaneity of it all. We decided to cook “the meal,” and we gathered together the ingredients we needed at the last minute.  Our family had no expectations and that made the entire day feel light and easy. While we did miss seeing family and chatting and playing games, I think the time at home was a necessary recharge. The pandemic has taught me a lot about flexibility and avoiding my tendency to over plan. If there is one silver lining for me over the past few year it is this– the pandemic made me a better farmer. With less off-farm distractions, I had time to notice more on the farm and as a result I have felt more engaged with the animals and the plants, the yearly cycles, the oddities our changing weather patterns. This time last year our valley was recovering from a 100-year flood. Now we are experiencing one of the driest falls on record. This is a time to be paying attention.

On Thanksgiving, I took a solo walk to the river which is something I haven’t done in quite a long time. It is embarrassing to say that I have been too busy to take a walk, but it is the truth. The sun was shining brightly and there was a lot of action in the fields, from sheep to swans. Walking away and back to the farm, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and I think that is what this complicated holiday should really be about going forward. Taking time to savor the harvest, our friends and family, our place in the world. Celebrating ourselves and the year that has almost reached its end. Gaining perspective on what we want and don’t want in our life going forward.

Onward into the holidays!