Have you seen the comet yet? We have all seen it, some of us multiple times. For the kiddos, staying up past dark and waiting was a challenge, but we all agree that it was worth the tiredness to see something so cool and unique hanging there in night sky.
I’m hardly even what you would call an amateur astronomer … more like an astronomy appreciator I suppose. But I get so excited when there are these kinds of astronomical events that get everyone, all around the world, looking up at the sky. On one hand, these kinds of unique events remind us all of how small we are in the scope of the universe. Looking up into the night sky, we can see past the limits of earth and into the evidence of other solar systems and other galaxies. The vastness is humbling and awe-inspiring.
I find that looking up, in general, gives me a feel of transcendence. As humans, we spent the vast majority of our time looking straight ahead or down (at our phones, at our work, at the uneven ground as we walk). I find that looking up pulls me out of my norm and shifts my perspective in ways that allow me to step back from the mundane experience and really feel present in a unique way. I’m not alone in this, and there’s a reason why cathedral ceilings were so high and painted to draw the eye up — toward heaven, but also physically toward a new sense of being. Some of my most profoundly present experiences have been when walking at night and looking up to see tree branches passing overhead. Something about that experience has always made the world feel more real than it usually does — more three-dimensional in a mysterious way. I can’t help but be sucked right out of whatever dreamy or distracted headspace I’d been in and be very present in my body, right there, seeing the trees pass over me in the darkness. I find that watching raptors soar overhead or even just flying a kite can give me a similar feeling — a blissful temporary pause in the endless chatter of my brain as I look up.
But astronomical events, like the comet or the 2017 full solar eclipse, also give us easy common ground with the whole planet (in a more positive way than, say, a global pandemic). I love that right now, in the midst of a tumultuous year full of uncertainties and anxieties and fears, this summer we all have the treat of a comet to search for in the night. It feels like a real gift, to have this shared news that isn’t confusing or overwhelming or scary in any way. It’s just this cosmic visitor we get to glimpse together.
While we were out in in our driveway looking at the comet through binoculars in the dark, our neighbors drove by and pulled over to ask if we’d seen “it” yet. Clearly, they knew what we were doing, and we understood exactly what they meant by “it.” They actually hadn’t found it in the sky yet, so we helped guide them to seeing the comet as well, and we all had a little moment there on the quiet country road in the night. Soon after, my dad (who lives next door) also popped out with his binoculars, and there was a real community feel happening at 10:15 pm here on Grand Island. (We also saw a baby skunk while we were all out there too!)
We were just a handful of the hundreds of millions of people probably doing the same thing that very night — standing in their driveways, looking up. I am grateful for that connection we shared, with our neighbors near and far.
It feels like we live in a world more interested in finding divisions than common ground right now. I believe much of this focus is fabricated by larger political forces, but it plays out amongst individuals, especially in the some of the only forums we have for communication right now: namely, social media. Does anybody feel benefited by such high levels of division? I certainly don’t see any benefits, except to manipulate people into fear of others. I’ve personally been staying away from most social media as a way to try and recalibrate and regain a sense of the shared human experience. But during a pandemic, staying away from social media can feel lonely too. These are hard times in many ways.
Which is why I felt especially grateful for this little comet. Thank you NEOWISE for giving us something to talk about beyond our fears of sickness or politics or other people. Thank you for reminding us that we all share this one beautiful earth home and that each of our unique stories make up the bigger story of life here. Thank you for reminding us to look up.
Also, by the way, it’s finally hot out! I’m personally loving this dry heat, and I think the vegetables are too. Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
P.S. Wondering about tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers? The very first fruits have matured (and gone into our tummies), and more will be on their way soon! Especially with this kind of summer-y weather!
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Meditation on this year’s system: We’re just about halfway through the 2020 CSA season now, the first (and hopefully only or one of only) season that we’ve used the online ordering system for filling shares. Overall, we’ve found that the system seems to be working fairly well for making sure everyone gets the vegetables they’d like with extremely minimal contact between all of us. We’ve also appreciated that we have less leftover. In a year of so much uncertainty, it feels good to be more streamlined (what is left over still gets donated to YCAP or eaten by us). In that way, we consider the system a huge success and are incredibly grateful that we have this option this year.
However, it’s definitely not something we want to stick with once it’s safe to go back to a warm and inviting and social pick-up. In addition to missing the actual human contact with all of you lovely people, we miss you being able to see ahead of time what you’re getting with each item. From week to week, the same vegetable item might look slightly different in terms of volume or maturity, and we think it’s best when you can SEE what we’re offering at our storefront display and then choose what will work best for you that week. We also like that in our usual system, you don’t need to do as much homework — just remember to show up and that’s it! Finally, as some of you have experienced, it is also trickier sometimes for us farmers to gauge how much we’ll have of something several days before we actually harvest. Thank you to everyone for your flexibility when we end up having more orders than a harvestable item. This has only happened a handful of times, and we’re getting better at estimating, but it’s definitely a quirk of the process.
So, eventually we plan to return to the tried-and-true system, but for now, we’re very glad to have a system that provides veggies and keeps everyone safe! Please let us know if you have any additional thoughts or feedback on the year so far.
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Meet this week’s vegetables: