Cherie and I have never been the type who enjoy nights on the town. Many years ago we began celebrating our “date nights” by renting a movie and having a quiet evening at home. But after moving here, and as farm life became more and more consuming, our date nights were more and more infrequent. Netflix made it possible to have movies delivered right to the house, but there just seemed to be no time to watch them. It still doesn’t happen much in the summer, but this time of year, when the days are short and the chickens go to bed at five, we’ve been trying to watch a movie every now and then. Nerds that we are, we mainly watch documentaries.
Sometimes the films we watch make me angry, or sad, or distressed. But often they encourage me. Very often the documentaries we watch relate to the food system and the growing movement of folks trying to make it better. I think I get some therapeutic value from watching such films. They help reinforce my hope that we’re part of something good and that ditching the urban professional life was a wise decision. “Fresh” was the last documentary we watched, and it gave me that feeling. I highly recommend it.
I’m also encouraged when folks tell us they’ve benefitted from our food or from the things we’ve advocated. It’s a great feeling to know that folks have lost lots of weight, gotten off medication, discovered what fresh food tastes like, become aware of creation care as a spiritual practice, started doing Christmas differently, etc.
For every such person there are probably ten who roll their eyes, snicker, or are just baffled at what we do and how we got to be here. But I’m convinced that the day is coming when everyone will “get it.” I like being part of it now.
When I announced my intention to move back here and transition out of my law practice one of my partners, an accomplished and very sucessful lawyer, asked me in all sincerity, “Why not just buy a Porsche?” In his mind, only a foolish mid-life crisis could cause me to walk away from that life.
But another colleague, also very sucessful and one of the hardest working lawyers I’ve ever known (though back in the day I could give him a run for his money), got it. He walked away at the peak of his career to hike the Appalachian Trail, and he never came back to the practice. When I told him what I was planning he didn’t question the move at all. His advice was, “Don’t wait too long.”
So here we are, preparing to start our second year of full-time farming. I still have doubts. Not often, but sometimes. Movies like “Fresh” help me quiet them.
For now, whenever I feel a little unsettled–maybe too far out on the limb–I try to remember what matters. And what doesn’t.