This last weekend of April is a reminder that the seasons don’t always have clear boundaries. Seasons, like many things, are on a continuum rather than existing as discreet states. This time of year, winter becomes spring, and while the momentum is towards the latter, the former can still manifest as several days of blustery weather to remind us of this fact. Even as winter has one of its last fits for the season, spring is a time of renewal and redemption. Every year in spring, we are reminded of second chances.
We may think that our opportunities have passed us by, but that isn’t true most of the time. Every year, in farming, we get a new chance. Every year, we plant our crops, and plan our season. There are uncertainties, many of which we cannot control. We could look at the flooding of the last few seasons and tell ourselves that farming is too hard and risky. The truth is, that it is. Each season, we look ahead into the year, and it is scary. Yet, even though it is risky, we choose to embrace the uncertainty in farming because the rewards, even if we fail, are worth it. Each season presents new opportunities that allow us to explore who we are as farmers, and of course, each season has risk. If we do not take these risks, however, we would never learn anything new about ourselves.
Taking risks allows me to be vulnerable to the tides of fate. It also allows me to test myself in the face of adversity. If it were easy, there would likely be no need for us to grow sustainable food in a socially responsible manner. There is always a chance that I may fail. We all risk failure when pursuing our purpose in life. If I fail, I will pick myself back up and try again because I am nothing if I am not serving my purpose in life. Even if I think I am ready on some days to do so, I can no more quit farming than a barn swallow can quit flying. It is in my DNA as a calling. We all have a purpose in this world. I have spent nearly 54 years trying to figure out mine, and I have come to the conclusion that I need to teach and to farm, to truly live.
Today I am reminded that I have chosen to not be a spectator, but to be actively in the game. I am aware of the costs of being in the game, but I have come to believe that the costs are much greater to me if I am not. Farming has no guarantees, and it certainly is full of uncertainties. Yet, some fundamental part of me needs to serve in the form for which I have been called. Even as this upcoming week looks bleak and though it will likely push many of our plantings back at least two weeks, I still feel faith that spring is here, and with it, there are new chances to for me to serve my purpose in the role in which I find myself.