by Sky Harman, Farm Apprentice
She likes flowers. She likes good food. She likes pretty things. She likes to be with her children and grandchildren, but we live far away. Instead I’ll try to give her my thoughts and some words, which I hope might bring joy to her heart and let her know that I love her.
My parents were homesteaders and founded communal farms in the ’60s and ’70s, at a time when the world felt, for them, as if it had reached a point of no return. They eventually returned to the “straight” world, seeking to make a difference among the larger society at the expense of some of their high ideals. I was born into this period of transition and witnessed few of those great efforts of their earlier lives. But I learned from them how to work hard, how to care for people, how to be self-reliant, and how to plant a seed.
Mom wants to be proud of what I am doing and how I live my life. I know it has been a challenge, at times, as I have made my way through life. As a boy and now as a man, what my mother thinks has not been at the forefront of my consciousness as I have struggled toward self-definition and sought right work, but I know that her values and passions have shaped who I have become. We both love nature. We both care deeply about the well-being of the people who touch our lives. We both want to make the world a better place, to join our voices in the chorus of humanity, and to sing without restraint or inhibition. For me, sustainable farming is like coming home to my parents’ house.
I am doing much the same as they did, but have decided to contribute my efforts as part of the “straight” world. I believe that with the lessons they have taught me and the things I have learned on my own, I can help to make the world a more sustainable place, one where my children’s children can learn to sing the song of the Earth with joy and love in their hearts.