Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fresh Dirt

The below was originally written in early Autumn with the intention of being submitted as my first column. It was to set the stage as the column's ongoing title "Fresh Dirt". It was never published and the column, while regular, does not have a consistent title. My unexpected inspiration to write more last night convinced me to finally place it here on the blog site. It was written from the gut in a very genuine place.


Being raised in a suburb of New York City I attended a catholic school where recess was held in the church parking lot. A blacktop swath surrounded by a towering chain link fence that literally rocked and rolled on windy days. I recently visited that New York parking lot with my girls and as we drove in I asked them to close their eyes and picture their recess area here in our small rural town. Really, take a minute to envision it, the views in every direction. Now open your eyes. They sat in silent disbelief. “Mom, this is a parking lot”. So it was.

They are being raised in a small farm town. A suburb, if you will, of Burlington. The drive to school, the library, every friend’s house, and the convenience store is breathtaking. Here fourth generation farmers know more about the commodities market than wall streeters and have the business acumen of our greatest entrepreneurs, Yale grads choose to stay home to raise their children, and surgeons wear their baseball hats backwards on weekends. We raise chickens by choice, swap greetings and tractor restoration stories at Carrie's Market, and it’s hard to tell who is of what means by just sizing someone up by their boots. Work waits when hunting season begins and we measure time by before and after “the snow flies”. I have learned that no one here is smarter than their neighbor because everyone truly brings some knowledge to the table. The mottled generations and backgrounds here weave a collective genius that floats on the air and sticks to the bare branches of winter.

For some this way of life has been a respected family tradition of hard work, for others it has come with tough choices and sacrifice, still others have fought the enticement of subdivisions to be part of something genuine and simple. Regardless of how anyone came to this suburban small town, I respect it, protect it, and preserve it.

It's a dry sunny day and today I have seen the same tractor go up and down my road several times which can only mean one thing - FRESH DIRT. A newly grated, pillowy flat open road on which to ride my horse down and wave at my neighbors who drive by and slow down when they see us. A true simple blessing in this sweet life we share and count on.

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