Farm thoughts...One month on this farm has moved like water. I can see the passage of time in the fields: once lush with cover crops, they are now open brown earth dotted with tiny lettuces, fuzzy tomatillos and peppers. The piercing scent of lemon blossoms is fainter than I remember that first day. Yellow citrus hangs low to the ground, and apple buds slowly fatten and blush. The moon, too, returns to full.
I try and fail to explain what it feels like to be here, on a farm in Santa Cruz, moving into a new rhythm. I know I cover less miles (geographically) in a day than city life, but enter into that day more deeply. It is a grounding thing to wake with the sun, to feel callouses grow on my palms and push seedlings into soil. But I also feel a different kind of groundedness, an unmeasurable ache of sadness and gratitude when I bend to the earth.
When I touch this rich earth, I remember faces and stories from across the years, many of them far from the hills of Santa Cruz. I remember the red hardpan of Kaho'olawe, sacred soils bombed by the US military and slowly returning to life as the people bring hope, water, and ceremony. I remember Pangasinan, my mother's province, the taste of milkfish and mangoes, and how I feel both connected and always foreign to that land. I reflect on the struggles of brown-skinned farmworkers past and present on California's soils, and how my experience here as an apprentice living on an organic farm is by far cushy, privileged.
I came here to take away tools - from drip irrigation, pruning, pest management, how to propagate, how to double dig a bed. But I also feel a weight on this experience. I look for more faces like mine in spaces lilke these. Deep inside, I bristle at "organic" even as it is in line with my beliefs, because I know "organic" and "sustainable" is not new or a concept invented in the First World, but a way of life lived by my ancestors, by all ancestors.
The season is changing. I feel another voyage taking place...and as I look for guidance, I look back to the stories that take me back to the roots.