Relearning How to People

Art by Midjourney.

Last evening I sat in on a Zoom that was a celebration of the release of Vol 2 of the Farmer-ish Annual.

(In full disclosure, I have a piece in their submission queue for an upcoming online edition.)

Farmer-ish is the love child (my phrase) of Crystal and James (Ron) Sands who farm and raise chickens and do all sorts of lovely literary and artistic things — right here in Maine.

On the Zoom call, eight or so contributors read from their work in the Annual. The mood was casual and fun, the quality fabulous, the undertone a kind of urgent craving to find tractable ways to love, and to express our love of, this earth and all its inhabitants. We hope to find the words that might infect another with the same love. In wildness (and poetry) is the preservation of the world.

I’m just vain enough that remembering the scheduled event with moments to spare, I kept my camera off. (My clothes and beard and the room behind me left much to be desired.) Besides, the event wasn’t about me, I was just privileged to enjoy an hour of keen, thoughtful discourse among — among whom? I felt something here. I’m trying not to overanalyze.

Kicking civilization and moving to a fixer-upper in the woods — and then the pandemic — have settled in me a deep comfort with solitude. I’ve never known how to do small talk, and a great deal of what constitutes “modern society” repels me.

So I’m paying attention to this feeling that there are kin out there, people drawn to the joys and hazards of small-scale, sustainable farming, finding their voice and art in that or through that, and in particular drawn to the challenge of doing whatever one is doing with intention, authenticity, and with eyes wide open as our path through earth’s ravaged landscape narrows.

My thanks to Crystal Sands for putting this into the world.