It’s been a while since my last post.
The whirl-wind end of school activities crested with a week-long trip to our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C.
While in D.C Robin and I received a message from our business partner Thaddeus. Things were not good.
We knew things were not good. We received a message almost identical to what Robin and I had known in May of 2016: the moment had arrived. It was time to close the farm.
Early, early, early into this grand project called Suzie’s Farm, the farm lost money. Robin and I had invested every penny saved over the course of our marriage into keeping the farm in business. Suzie’s expenses were paid for primarily by the profits we earned through our sister farm, Sun Grown Organic Distributors.
We tried everything – and I do mean EVERYTHING – to keep the farm alive. We acquired more land, grew bigger, grew more varieties, grew fewer varieties, let land go, hired more people, let people go, did more press, hosted more farm dinners, private events, public events, camp, school, day fairs. We would have held a lemonade stand if we thought it would generate enough revenue to keep us in business. It was not enough.
Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes EVERYTHING you can do is still not enough. Love isn’t enough. Will isn’t enough. Good vibes, generosity, prudent farm practices, associations, charity work, speeches, discounts, a team of dedicated, hard-working, true believers isn’t enough. Sometimes the cards are stacked.
Sometimes you do your best. Sometimes you make mistakes. You misjudge and mismanage. You blaze confident. You lose focus. You redirect. You fall, you fight, you fumble. You beg, borrow, and bluster. You grip and grope and give. You grovel, kneel, and pray. You let people down. You lift people up. You fly.
And sometimes it is not enough.
The time has come. It is enough.
It’s time to let go.
The agreement to close came in a ten minute phone call with dates determined. When you know, you know, you know? No more need to prolong the agony. Agony is exhausting and I am exhausted.
Our team knows. Final pay is being processed, store rooms cleaned, hours assigned, clients alerted, details ironed. There is still food in the ground. We aren’t going to come along with a giant flame thrower and destroy what we’ve grown. That food will be used by Farm Fresh To You in Farm Boxes. Our food will go, as we have always dreamed, to our people. We have fulfilled our last weekend of Farmers Markets. We honor our last weekend of tours.
I was under the impression that I could keep this thing going. It got ugly in here. I freshened my lipstick and straightened my turban, applied my sunscreen and grabbed a stick from the fields. I wrote and spoke and listened. I believed that by sheer dint of determination and force that Suzie’s Farm could succeed.
This is not what I want to say.
Or is it?
Some of the hard things: Letting go. Trusting that our work was not in vain. Realizing that love isn’t enough, that caring isn’t enough. Facing my weaknesses and failures. Looking back at where I could have done more. Being merciful with myself. Not resenting other’s success and profit. Believing that there is more. Hurting. Feeling betrayed. Letting people down. Letting our daughters down. Letting Robin down. Mourning.
Some of the best things: The light in the sky on hazy, Summer evenings. Winter Solstice camping. Keeping the fires. Farm School. Farm Camp. Sunflower mazes. Naming the fields. Flowers and field bouquets. Field trips. Freedom. Friendships and Farm-ily. Pulling beets straight from the ground, bloody with juice, gritty with Earth. Hawks soaring. Dirt Time. Pumpkin Palooza. Napping in the Red Okra, nestled among the burgundy stalks. The Fun Moon rising over the eastern mountains. The smell of the Earth after a rain. Rapping at El Take It Easy. Cook’s Confab. Slow Food. Farmers Markets. Pizza Oven Potlucks. Speaking the truth of the spirit. Listening to the wind. Dogs romping in the fields. The Swing. Silent Tours. Dia de los Muertos. Cases of strawberries. Fennel. Cherry Bombs. Padrons. Learning abundance. Attending the cycles of the Earth. Discerning the language of the Universe. Gratitude. Dreaming. Receiving. Believing.
Suzie’s Farm doesn’t end here. I don’t end here. The story doesn’t end here.
The story takes a turn and a skip, the way the tractor does when it makes new rows.