We've hit a wall. It’s week four at the farm and things are slow. Planting has slowed almost to a halt, and the crops aren’t growing because of the lack of rain. We’re getting antsy. Two weeks remain before we move the woods. We’re in a restless place. We need to be able to live in the present without longing too much for the summer. It would be unfair to sacrifice the beauty of where we are at right now for the sake of imagining the future. So we find ourselves sitting in an uncomfortable spot.
The last two days have been spent picking stones. It’s a slow, tedious, hard job. Picking is far from glamorous, but essential for plants to grow. It’s not thrilling. It’s slow and it’s quiet.
I’ve been busy this week with working on administrative work for Peartree. Having a business is not all excitement either. I’ve never been a lover of organization and streamlined operations so it was a push to try and sort out numbers and goals and blah blah blah.
But it’s the quiet work that makes good ground. Administration sets a firm foundation for a good business. Picking stones builds soil that can grow and nurture healthy plants. These jobs are quiet and get very little recognition.
Quiet work should also happen everyday in our relationships with others. We need to practice patience and love for those that surround us. This work is not done on instagram and facebook, it’s not put in front of everyone in order to show off. It’s a quiet labour that happens when no one else is watching. It’s tea with a friend. It’s kind words to a spouse. It’s a difficult conversation that needs to happen. It’s about building trust and love.
I owned a slope full of stones.
Like buried pianos they lay in the ground,
shards of old sea-ledges, stumbling blocks
where the earth caught and kept them
dark, an old music mute in them
that my head keeps now I have dug them out.
I broke them where they slugged in the dark
cells, and lifted them up in pieces.
As I piled them in the light
I began their music. I heard their old lime
rouse in breath of song that had not left me.
I gave pain and weariness to their bearing out.
What bond have I made with the earth,
having worn myself against it? It is a fatal singing
I have carried with me out of that day.
The stones have given me music
that figures for me their holes in the earth
and their long lying in them dark.
They have taught me the weariness that loves the ground,
and I must prepare a fitting silence.
- Wendell Berry