"His eyes can read the animal atmosphere;
And see through their silence to sense their minds.
His skilled hands can guide calves and lambs to birth.
Out among his animals, in rain, cold and snow,
Talking to them in affectionate callings,
Something in him turned to their rhythm.
In these times when geography becomes virtual
And developers urbanise the earth
May the farmer continue to hold true ground,
Keeping the intimate knowing of the clay alive,
Nourishing us with the fruits of the earth,
Serving as custodian of that precious threshold where
The rhythm of nature with its serene pulse
And sublime patience restores our minds."
From John O'Donohue's blessing "For the farmer"
We've been farming for seven years this month. Alex and I have known each other longer in the world of dirt, chickens, bees, cows, eggs, poo, grasses, farmers markets and small children longer than anything else. We wear the lines and strain of seven years fumbling, experimenting, learning how to grow food: care for creature, root and worm.
Seven years studded with wonder and provision, fatigue and injury. Seven years of benefiting from the wisdom - the loving - of others: local farmers young and old, educators, writers, activists, friends, family, customers, neighbours, strangers.
Overwhelmed for seven years with the state of our world; our earth; our tables, our hearts. Remembering good things are worth fighting for: worth the time and sacrifice; that there's more than just ourselves; that we must remain curious; that we are made to know place; we are made for regeneration.
Farming is a profession of hope. But then, isn't all seed planting? Growing a garden, yes, but also teaching, learning, making with your hands, parenting, healing, understanding differences, finding common ground, forgiving, beginning again.
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...