|We are farmers…We’re all farmers! People refer to the work that I do on the Gulf Coast as farming, but I am pretty sure that all our work is farming. Yours, mine, theirs, his, and certainly hers, too. You cultivate. You plant seeds. Everything we DO as humans is farming.
I know this to be true even though there is rarely a “farmer box” to check as an occupational listing any longer. On most surveys these days, my work falls under “OTHER”. Apparently, agriculture is considered a dying occupation among survey writers.
We are farmers when we build. We are farmers when we go to work each day. We are farmers when we buy things online. We are farmers when we use plasticware at a birthday party. We are farmers when we fill our fuel tanks. We are farmers when we ride our bicycles to dinner with friends. Ooops! We don’t really do that any more. But, we are farmers when we smile at the car next to us on the freeway on the way to dinner. Everything we do is a cultivation of something. With this in mind, and looking around at the World we are building these days, I think of something Kurt Vonnegut said in one of his last interviews, “We must not like this place”, and then of something Farnk Zappa said “We’re dumb all over, and maybe a little ugly on the side.”
But as Human Beings we can be something Other than farmers. We’re beings and not always doings. On this side of the fence we meditate, we listen, we sleep, and if we are lucky, we love and are loved.
Of course, the best farming is that which pays close attention to the life of the farm and on the farm and makes small changes or occasionally large ones according to what has been learned. This is lucky, because so much of my early cultivation of life was flawed, even as it had good heart behind it. I believed that all the tools available to me were the ones to be used. It turns out that most of them were too powerful for my skills at using them. So… my favorite tools of late are these beautifully forged Dutch hoes and a light heart. I can only do so much damage with this small hoe, and the damage does not happen so quickly that I can’t see some of it as I go down the row. The same is true for my light heart. It corners faster, can hear more of what is being said, pumps more of what needs to be pumped, less of what doesn’t.
I just thought I would remind myself–and you–that even without the box in which to put a check, that I am, and we all are, Farmers of something. Maybe we don’t need the box after all, and maybe if we pay attention our skills with farming will improve.