May 20, 2023
On this spectacular spring Sunday afternoon, I find myself relaxing after a two-week whirlwind of farm work. Two important things stand out about this moment: one, that I am relaxing, and two, that I am relaxing. Uh, what? As some of you already know, I fell from a roof in February. As startling as a fall can be, that landing can be the real surprise. In my case, I was exceptionally lucky to meet the ground with some grace. Three months later, with one six-inch surgical screw, five healed fractures and many hours of physical therapy under my belt, I can lounge in the sun and enjoy a spring day. So, yes, that’s one reason that relaxing stands out. Sure, I am in some pain – but that’s the other thing that stands out: it’s not what you think. It’s not really about the injury, but that I just spent the last few days working hard on the farm and my muscles are sore and stiff. You may think it is because I’m over fifty, but I’d like to think that it’s mostly because I just spent twelve weeks sitting around with my feet up. Either way one wants to look at it, that I’m a bit worn out from working on the farm means that I was working on the farm. Moreover, that I now have both the time and ability to relax today is really thanks you.
During those first moments in the ER awaiting my prognosis, I made phone calls to clients, contractors and friends cancelling a variety of projects and plans. Then I had lots of time to think about how I would ever be able to get things done. Besides other work deadlines, much farm work needs to be done by a certain time. So, there was a lot to be concerned about. Yet, before I had the chance for a full-blown existential crisis, an amazing thing began to unfold: you all offered to help.
I imagine that many of us are so overworked, overstimulated, and preoccupied in our post-covid bubbles, that it’s easy to forget about the depth of community around us. That so many of you raised a hand (or shovel or spatula actually) to support my family, truly reveals the meaning and power of community. It’s your hands, kind words, and offerings that have brought us through to the other side. And, quite literally, it is all your help that gives me the opportunity to enjoy a Sunday afternoon. Without your generosity of time & spirit, we would still be out there trying to triage various farm chores and get our seedlings in the ground.
Your support came through such a variety of touching ways and we are grateful. Some of you, like Ryan, Chris, Dani & Scott, and Clare, visited the hospital when I needed a laugh. My dad Rick, and Lou set our home up for temporary handicapped immobility. Some of you visited to keep my spirits up and make sure I had a good lunch, thank you to my mom Marlene, Bill, Dad, Beth, Tom, Chris, Jen, Bear & Octavia. Sarah brought a special blessing from Italy. Jason brought my first post-surgical beer and plowed our driveway. Andrew brought a nice bottle of scotch, John sent port, pain relief in lieu of needing oxy. Joanne amazingly spent five days with me while Atlanta traveled for work. Lou & Christine made sure to get me out for the medicinal properties of hops & malt. Chris tackled a great many unfinished projects to get me through selling both a property and my old truck. Dad spent a day emptying one of the barns before we handed over the keys to new owners. Tom & Heather and Lou & Christine helped move heavy things while I was still stuck on a walker.
Many of you brought food, spectacular home-made dishes or gift cards for take-out meals. This incredibly kind gesture certainly padded my mid-section, but more importantly gave room for Atlanta to have the time to take care of me. Thank you, Amy, Linda, Meg and Leslie for those nourishing home-made meals. Thank you, Amanda & Cyn, for the excuse by way of a Starbucks gift card to leave the house! Thanks to Meredith for organizing all the meals and Nicole, Noreen, Gloria, Andrea, Chris, Jeannie, Luis, Susan, Ann, and Leslie for all those take out dinners. Jen made a beer bread (obviously full of healing ingredients) and she and Sarah even brought by plants.
Rivi, Kavi, Amita & Gregg sent a pick-me-up that is now my new favorite hat.
Ron and Jeff came to chainsaw and split a fallen tree. Chris, Keith, Alex and Ryan from Timberland planted blueberry bushes as well as some apple, peach and cherry trees, mulch & fertilize, and brush cut an area I couldn’t possibly do myself.
We had so many volunteers for our Christmas tree planting last week, that we planted AND mulched 900 seedlings and fertilized another 1,000 more. Thank you, Lou, Tom, Chris & Christine (who came down all the way from Canada), Michelle & Grace & Katie, Zeina, Kaye, Marlene & Bill, Lisa & Erik, Marc & Julia & Joanne, Geoff & Leslie, Jim, Emory, Dani & Scott, and Justin and Jenna. We couldn’t have done it without you.
This week, the 8th grade Heronfield Academy class of 2023 worked a day at the farm. Willow’s 28 classmates planted 300 lavender plants, planted 10,000 sunflower seeds, fertilized 1,500 trees, and probably picked off a 100,000,000 pine cones from the mature Christmas trees. (It may be of note that they also polished off 9 pizzas and 3 pans of Atlanta’s famously addictive blondies.) I look forward to seeing these flowers take hold, it will make for a glorious summer on the farm. A special thanks to Ron, Don & Kirsten, the teachers that made this happen, and Karlene who helped shepherd kids around the farm.
For the majority of this work, we just wouldn’t be able to do on our own. After all, it hasn’t even been that long since I’ve been off crutches. Many more of you offered a hand (and encouragement) that we haven’t specifically taken you up on, but it is great to know you’re there to provide some help through the summer as I work on getting my muscles back. These generous gifts of your time and support have meant so much to us. It was this realization – of your presence in varied forms – that brought us to this afternoon. Knowing that we have such a great community of family, friends and neighbors, provided the space to let go of concern for the future and instead focus on healing. These acts of kindness took pressure off Atlanta and Willow so that they could support me but also keep up with their own responsibilities. Without all your help, I most certainly would have ignored my doctors’ advice and done too much and set recovery back considerably.
Deep gratitude to you all. Now, I think I’ll give these legs a little test drive with a walk to see if there’s any Ben & Jerry’s left — I still need to keep up the calcium!