For those of you who haven’t been here, River Run Farm is nestled at the bottom of the Olympic Mountains. The Dungeness River snakes its way across the east side of our property. Most of our fields lay prepped and ready for their new charges: organic squash, lettuce, kale and other market favorites. Our draft horses—there are now four (welcome to Red and Duke!)—nibble at the fresh spring grass. Our beets are getting thinned and our brassicas is getting hoed by someone in neon raingear—one of the new crew probably. The dandelions shared their bright yellow blaze with us, and now their seeds pirouette across the farm when the wind kicks up. Wet, transparent petals from apple blossoms stick to the technicolor grass. The hustle and bustle continues. People and plants. Everyone is busying themselves. Summer is close.
There’s a lot to do and we’re kicking ourselves, as usual, for not being more on top of our to-do lists: we’re a few weeks behind in our crop plan due to wet weather; our pack-shed still needs that deep winter clean. And it’s already May. Oh, and those dandelion I mentioned? They need mowing. These days it’s easy to feel like things are overwhelming, complicated, or too much. It’s easy to ask: am I doing enough?
I was reminded recently that periods of chaos, of unexpected change, and disruption are precursors to transformation. Nature teaches us this lesson with her typical circuitous logic. We learn how to be boldly vulnerable like our tiny transplants. We learn to have faith that the seeds we sow will miraculously yield radishes. We learn to take raging waters as a gift like the smooth river rocks do. We learn resilience from our overwintered kale that just keeps going and going and going. Nevertheless, she persists.
One of her best and most important lessons is gratitude.
We’ve started to make our weekly trips into Seattle to go to market. We’re at University District, and soon we’ll start at Ballard and Queen Anne as well as our full season Farmshare. The market hustle can get crazy, but I love the opportunity to meet some of you, to hand you your vegetables in person. The moments we share may be fleeting, we might only talk about horoscopes or the wintery weather, or I might bore you completely with the ins-and-outs of our quinoa production. But I feel so grateful for those moments, however silly and however short.
Because our lives are interconnected. We feed you, and you feed us. The reciprocity is so real. Our relationship is so honest and direct. When we choose to cultivate relationships based on mutual respect, recognition, and compassion, we take those lessons of gratitude, resilience, and vulnerability and we put them into practice.
I look out on our farm—wet, alive, vibrant, and full of life. I see the challenges we face, too, both on and off the farm. Are we doing enough? Yes, I think we are. – Elizabeth