Morning dawns earlier. The blanket of night thickly thrown over the Tijuana River Valley where we farm, lifts ethereally in these early Spring days. Broad fog lingers over the field, washing everything in a watercolor called grey mist. Early, the day is still. The plants rest and recover, rejuvenate and restore, slumbering tenderly as the crew prepares for the day.
Roberto rumbles the Kabouta to life. Alex pops in his white pick-up, clipboard in hand, studying it like an ancient scroll to discover unveiled mysteries. Lauro, bright and buzzy, Panfilo, alert and attentive, Jose, Panfilo’s son, fine and diligent, prepare for their marching orders. Miguel zooms around the fields in his irrigator Gator. Focused and quiet, the day has begun.
Most of the office staff is likely still cozy in bed. Perhaps some early risers have heated water for tea or something stronger. We each check the weather. San Diego Spring calls for layers as the weather gusts from one description to another. Sun emerges from clouds, take off the sweater. Mist collects into rain, put on a jacket. Clouds obscure Sun, sweater over the shoulders. Light glares, find the sunglasses.
And in the middle of the day, the wind blows.
If you have been to the farm you know and anticipate this time. Occasionally you can set your watch by it. Mostly, you know that the time will come to be stirred up by the breeze.
Rarely does the air gust. It collects the way one does on laundry day at home, accumulating abandoned socks, scattered napkins, hills of towels and rugs, and sweatshirts spread throughout. When the wind comes, and it always comes like the rising and setting Sun, it gathers like an embrace, steady and constant.
The trees in The Grove offer little protection. The draughts circumnavigate the trunks, weaving and wrapping. The eucalyptus fronds dance in the wind, sizzling like meat in a hot frying pan. In the fields, new pepper seedlings prostrate, young lettuce leaves tear, kale parries. Cyclones lift our light soil from the road into flurries, busily scrambling, lifting and touching down – now here near the summer squash, now here near the berries, now here near the cabbage. Hawks upheave and decrease, cresting the waves of air currents.
The constant wind exhausts. So much movement, unrelenting, consumes. Like a weekend in Las Vegas, It isn’t until you remove yourself from the space that you recognize the assault and appreciate the stillness and quiet.
Yes, the farm is like that, and so is life. An incessant barrage of requests and demands, attitudes and moods, of psychic bandwidth stretched to accommodate all the talents and treasures with which we have been entrusted.
In the car for a few minutes to rest and consume recently picked leaves and fruits, masticating deliberately, sensing the release of sweet juice, the ground pulp and fiber, the explosion of restorative nourishment. In silence listening solely to the wind created within me, my slow and deliberate inhalation, the sense of my tummy skin on my thighs, the weight of my forearm on my lap, the curl of my fingers around the bristling curly leaf of kale. I sense, with curiosity, my interior landscape, as outside the wind continues to blow.
Until Next Week,
Do well. Be Well,