The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed
that the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
descending in the dark?
-Wendell Berry, "The Man Born to Farming", 1998
This poem by Wendell Berry lingers in my senses, how beautifully - how truly - he evokes the lessons of the farming life; the ever-shifting landscape of a farmer's heart and mind, seasons of shadow and loss, wellspring and renewal.
This year marks eight years that Alex and I have been farming. Eight years our full-time vocation, livelihood. and partnership among the dung and eggs and pasture, chickens and bees and cows. Every year brings it's own difficulties and blessed relief - this one battered us with wild weather, pandemic and unexpected choices and gifted us an egg-packing house, full water tanks and growing hope.
Unlike Wendell, Alex and I were not born into farming; though at age 24 and 31 you could say we became re-born to it. Tending the earth, listening to it's wisdom, braving harsh realities and a steep learning curve (that contains to grow), rejoicing with our neighbours, our patrons, our landlords and our children when things come right - we realise how small and insignificant we are, yet with hands to ground, are closer to God, made whole.
Seven years farming
Four years farming, an ode
ABOUT the author
Emily Clare Sims is a farmer and mama to three young boys. Each day she looks for ways to notice beauty, contemplate her faith and savour the seasons...