What Does It for Me: Going to the Farm


M. Jane Ross

The blog posts by the Telling HerStories bloggers have an unmistakable theme this month: going back to the source of our inspiration and creativity. 

Susan Tweit’s subject is the land. For inspiration, she told us in Friday’s blog post, she takes a walk so she can feel and smell and see the land every day.  And Janet Riehl wrote earlier in the month suggesting places and activities to foster our muse.

Me, I go to the farm. It’s my Saturday morning ritual. A little before 9 a.m., I set out to drive the 20 minutes across town to the small urban farm called Boggy Creek. I’ve been doing this almost every week for, I think, nine years.

At the farm stand I greet the farmers, Carol Ann and Larry and the other farm-stand regulars like Eric, the chef from Wink restaurant. I stop to chat with Gail who sells lavender, and with Marilyn and Clare who weigh the vegetables and tot up customers’ purchases.

If the one of the Maria’s (mother or daughter) is at hand replenishing the vegetable tables, I nod, “Cómo estás? Hace mucho frio, no!” They’re not much given to speaking to the customers, but since I know it is they who harvest most of the vegetables I eat every week, it seems only polite to inquire, How are you? It’s pretty cold, huh?

The laden tables of vegetables are festive and enticing with their vital freshness and vibrant colors. The carrots glow when they’re fresh-pulled from the ground and just rinsed in the salad shed. The brassicas are like jewels: emerald cabbages, romanesco (fractal) cauliflowers in jade hues, sometimes even red cabbages like giant baroque black pearls, though not today.

Maria carries the harvest from fields to farmstand at Boggy Creek Farm. M J Ross

And when I’m done choosing what I need for the week, I take a stroll
out to the fields behind the farmhouse and sit for a few minutes
drinking in the sight of this land, the source of my food. The source
too of my inspiration.

A chicken struts toward my bench hoping for a morsel of people-food. Larry may pause on his way across the yard to sit a minute. We exchange observations about the weather and the crops and sometimes about politics. The lack of rain has been cruel; the strawberry plants almost succumbed to the too-alkaline city water when the well ran dry. But for all the doom and gloom, we can’t complain. What could be better than sitting here by the fields in the weak winter sun as the neat rows of intense green, framed by winter-dried grasses and bare-limbed trees, hum with life. There will be fresh greens for lunch. All is well.

Writing prompt: Do you have a favorite ritual for rejuvenating yourself and reviving your creative spirit? What place or activity brings you back to a sense of connection to the creative source? Tell me about it here on the blog. And write about it in your journals or notebooks.

See my Flickr photos taken today at Boggy Creek Farm.

Boggy Creek Farm’s owner Carol Ann Sayle has a story and recipe in our very own Kitchen Table Stories cookbook-anthology, available from Amazon.com or direct from Story Circle Network.

One response to “What Does It for Me: Going to the Farm

  1. Jane, like both you and Susan Tweit, I seek solace from nature.
    In November, I convinced my supervisor that we needed to make time in our lives to get some exercise. So the two of us started our own mini-wellness program by alternating days that we come in late. For myself, on my days I go to one of the city parks nearby and simply walk.
    I say simply walk because I mean that I do not listen to an iPod or talk on the cell phone. I walk and focus on breathing, on listening to the morning birdsong, on seeing the tiny changes in the trees. Although I am not always completely successful at banishing my worries or running down my internal checklist of things to do at work, most days I am able to let go of those things and simply be present in the moment.
    This simple ritual not only rejuvenates me, but it takes me back to childhood memories of growing up in West Virginia. I was fortunate to have a father who believed in showing us the value of the land as well as teaching my brother and I that we had a responsibility to be good stewards of that land. Now I see that this upbringing with its emphasis on exploring the land, visiting state parks, and camping has provided me with rich fodder for stories, essays, and poetry.
    So I walk for my health, my spirit, and the refilling of my creative well.

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