I always think of Thanksgiving as our holiday, the farmers’ holiday. But it’s not just ours. People throughout the ages have held harvest home feasts this time of year. The crops are secure, so we celebrate the fact that there is food enough to fill our bellies for the coming winter; spiritually, we give thanks for providence, the mysterious abundance that is never more apparent than it is at the close of the season, after the sun has worked its magic on soil and seed. Whether you think providence is divine or of nature (or both) it is a farmer’s privilege to live and work in close communication with it. Once you see it and feel it it changes you.
We gave a talk at the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit this week and one of the students asked us to name our favorite thing about farming. Mark answered that it is simply walking the farm, day after day, witnessing its incessant changes, its responses to our actions. And for me, it’s the same, only I might add that the wonder of it never wears off; I still feel, this time of year, the same warm sense of safety and security that I felt the first time I set foot on Mark’s farm in Pennsylvania. This morning I walked our fields with a moisture tester to see if the corn is dry enough to harvest, and there was that old glow, alive and well amid the dry stalks and bright yellow ears. I carried it with me back to the barnyard, where the root cellars and hay mows are full to bursting. We have had our share of difficulties this year but I have seen enough of the world to know just how deep my gratitude ought to be, even on what we might call a hard year. We live in unprecedented bounty, free from hunger, oppression, and fear.
This week I give thanks for that, and for the good earth, for our members, for the people and animals who brought forth the harvest, and for the friends and family and neighbors who surround us. Have a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving, everyone… (Essex Farm Note)