It’s a Pro-D (professional development) Day at David Thompson today. Oh, how calm it is.
Guess what? I got my rainbow carrots photo!
These past two weeks, we’ve had a bounty of these colourful root veggies. I can’t help but be in awe of their beauty.
There were also some rebel chioggias that we found during beet-washing.
Purple, yellow, pink, orange, we musn’t forget green and red!
(I wonder what vegetable is blue…)
Being snifflingly sick last week–and nearing what I hope is the end of my recovery this week–I’ve had the embodied opportunity to reflect on something very important, but often neglected in our efficient lifestyles:
This season, I’ve been learning a lot about care taking–of crops, of relationships, of myself. You may have read about some of those thoughts lessons in previous blog posts. As I ponder it now, a lot of the motivation behind taking care of something/someone is so that the thing or person can be put to optimal use. We care for the land and soil so that its fertility is sustained for our food production; we tirelessly weed on our knees, pluck off yellowing or damaged leaves to ensure that our brassicas, spinach, and parsley will grow healthy and strong, so that when we eat them, and we ourselves will become healthy and strong. We care for ourselves when we are sick so that our bodies can be available as soon as possible to go to work, school, farm… to be useful again.
In one of my geography classes this semester, we have been exploring the Western idea of conservation: preserving the natural environment so that we can best harness its resources (water, forests, soil…) for our use, gain, and comfort. Often, it is tied to monetary gain. It is a very “economic” way of thinking and engaging–with the land, and, I think by extension, with one another. We concern ourselves over meeting others’ expectations of us, we think (even subconsciously) about what other people, things, and situations can do for us. It has also gotten me thinking about how, when we aren’t in the act of doing/using something/someone, we are more often than not in the act of “gearing” up, or “refuelling” for the next job or task. We take study breaks, we draw, or write, or squeeze rubber balls to de-stress, the list can go on.
So, too, in the act of engaging with the land for food that is agriculture. Conventional farming uses chemicals that magically speedup and standardize production yields, but that leave the land sick. Even in organic farming, we implement crop rotations, we leave certain plots fallow in order to let it rebuild its stores of nutrients and essentially “take a break” from having to produce. All this, to ensure that a landscape can be planted and harvested from continually and sustainably.
Whether ourselves, or the land, it seems to be all about squeezing as much productivity out as we can.
Resting. Being at rest. Is there a difference? Though it may just be a difference of wording, something deep down thinks there is a difference of attitudes between “resting” and “being at rest”.
Resting is usually only done over a certain period of time–at night, on your sick day off, during a family vacation. Rest is sought and entered into by someone who is tired, and weary, and drained of energy. After a time of resting, that someone has (ideally) been rejuvenated and refreshed, so that they can resume the busy, over-scheduled and overly-stressful life that is often the norm in our society. They can be put to work again.
Being at rest. It is a state of equilibrium. Where inputs and outputs, work and no work are in constant dynamism and exchange. It doesn’t need to look forward to Fridays, or vacations, or fallow years for rest. Because it is constantly at rest. Instead of ceasing momentarily in its doing and usefulness, it can just be.
This is a complex idea to try to convey completely. I’ve reflected awhile back about the satisfying value there is in working with one’s hands, in doing practical and meaningful work. I am not saying that utility and work are “bad”–indeed, they are what keep our societies, communities, and families in practical order.
Much of who we are depends on what we do/our work. If the land is sick, or if we are sick (or lazy) and don’t work or manage the land, we won’t have food to eat. Agriculture is all about working the land for our own sustenance. So, perhaps, it is really impossible to separate ourselves from our work.
All this being said (with too many words, perhaps), I really wanted to come to a “new” piece of insight. But I realized that this week’s living has really been an illustration to last time’s reflecting on the Constancy of Change–or, as my biology major friend aptly pointed out, homeostasis. When we overwork ourselves or the land, motivated by the need for productivity and results, we can get sick. And the state of constancy must be recovered through letting go of the things that are causing the imbalance.
I suppose I’m being taught the consequences of breaking the equilibrium of being at rest.