I keep thinking of different metaphors for this unprecedented moment in the world. As I said last week, a good friend described this as “time outside of time,” which is a beautiful cosmic way to think of what really feels like a lot of drudgery. There is a lot that does feel profound right now — the poignancy of every day life, of saying “I love you,” of cherishing all that is still with us: the beauty of spring’s unfolding.
The mourning of our real and potential losses too is also profound, and I know that I am one of many who has felt real, intense grief as I struggle to process the huge losses in my own life and all around me. Jobs and businesses in limbo. Concerts, sporting events, and plays cancelled (all that hard work!). Much needed family vacations skipped. Milestones and passages marked without gatherings (birthdays, weddings, graduations, funerals). Loss of health or worries about health. The loss of normalcy all around. For some, the loss of loved ones. The fear of more losses to come.
Like all grief, however, the work of mourning normalcy can also be full of drudgery. There can be days of listless energy. Emotions that feel unformed and vague but cover everything with a gray haze. The inability to focus or feel productive. I think so many of us are feeling the effects of this large scale mourning even as we have expectations that we should somehow be productive while at home too!
But, added to the grief is the waiting. Waiting is very different from anticipating. Anticipating can be a beautiful, joyful experience that highlights the pleasure of an upcoming occasion. But, waiting can feel different. I’m thinking here of the waiting we do when stuck in traffic and are uncertain of how long it will be before we get home. Or, the waiting of a child on a long car trip, watching the scenery pass by until it all becomes a blur and there’s only the question left … “Are we there yet?” Or, even worse, the waiting that comes when you schedule an appointment for a repair or utility connection at your house, and you’re given a window of time (“we’ll be there between 10 am and 2 pm”). And, so you find yourself at home, theoretically with lots of time to get things done, but find it very hard to focus with the thought that you might be interrupted at any moment.
Those are the kinds of metaphors I’ve been thinking of most — the hard, icky waiting — as we enter another week of waiting for Covid-19 cases to peak and then slow down and then pause … so that we can then hopefully restart some new version of “life-as-normal” (which even then might not look “normal” for quite a while).
Casey and I have both actually been incredibly busy during the isolation period, getting spring work started on the farm, starting the CSA, homeschooling the kids, and doing all the other work we do around the community (now just mostly remotely, which has been a big learning curve as well!). But, for me, all the busy-ness still has had that vague foggy feeling over it all — I can’t shake those sensations of mourning and waiting all mixed into something undefined and just kind of “blah.”
Compounding our own experience of the isolation, our family actually had influenza twice in February (type B and then type A). So we’ve been doing some form of self-isolation (and lots and lots and lots of cancelling) off-and-on since February 1. Quite frankly, friends, I am tired of missing the people and activities that I deeply love.
Certainly, the silver lining of all of this is heightened gratitude for it all. I never take our life for granted — I honestly would not change a thing — but WOW … the last two months have put even more emphasis on how much happiness is to be found in the simplest parts of our life. The ability to gather and laugh with friends in person. Singing with other people. Sharing a meal around a table. I miss those simple, free joys so very much.
Part of why I’ve found it important to be real and share my sense of loss in this season is that I want to create space for other people to acknowledge theirs as well. I think that if we dismiss our own losses (even small ones, like missing having coffee regularly with a friend) as unimportant in the scheme of the world, we risk losing gratitude for all the wonderful little things in our life as well. Yes, I continue to be grateful for my health, for my family, for my relative stability right now. None of that changes the losses — the cancelled choir concert, the missed 20th wedding anniversary trip I had planned with Casey. I do mourn these and more.
I look forward to more such special things in life in the future, along with the regular wonders too, even as I am as grateful as ever for each new blossom that shows up in my garden. It has been so, so wonderful to watch spring change and beautify the landscape around me, even as I stay put. I have more appreciation than ever for these treasures. Last year I put in a new small flower bed in front of our house, and all spring I’ve delighted in the progression of blooms. I’ve realized that gardens are gifts we give to our future selves. Even when we know what we’ve planted, it’s surprising to see the buds forming and the new growth and the display of color months or years later.
So, life — even amidst the uncertainty, the grief, the waiting — has its wonders and small joys. But friends, I think it’s okay to cut yourself slack if there are days during this isolation when you can’t seem to get everything done on your list … or can’t even make a list at all! These are hard times. If you can only do a few things, please do what you need to do to stay as emotionally and mentally healthy as possible through it all: take walks, cuddle your pets, intentionally appreciate spring’s beauty … and, of course: eat well!
We hope that last week’s share of vegetables brought some lightness and connection into your week. We really appreciated all the grace we were given around the new temporary systems and the technology. Overall, it seemed to go quite well. We had a few issues with orders not coming through to us, which I’m continuing to problem solve, but for the most part everyone’s orders arrived fine and we were able to download them into a spreadsheet for harvest and bag packing.
I will probably check for orders on Tuesday evening again and email anyone I haven’t heard from, just to make sure we don’t miss anything. Remember that you should see a green confirmation message on the screen after you place your order. If you don’t see that screen, it’s likely I didn’t get your order.
If you have any questions about the process or are uncertain whether your order worked, you can call (503-474-7661) or email me ( farm at oakhillorganics dot com). I’ll be at pick-up this week as well to help Casey, which will also make that part smoother, and I can answer questions there (from a distance!).
Until we get some kind of “all-clear” we’ll continue to practice social distancing at pick-up, so we thank you for your cooperation. It sounds like six feet distance is a minimum and more space is even safer. It has been uplifting to see the world cooperate in order to keep people healthy — even though we are apart, we are truly in this together!
Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
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Meet this week’s vegetables: The list is essentially unchanged from last week, except we have Goldrush apples instead of Cortland. This apple is suitable for eating or baking. It’s very sweet and has a firm texture.
Also, no limits on radishes this week. And, you’ll notice a new order to the list — we realized that since we’re packing bags from this list, it makes sense for us to put the heaviest items at the start of the list (so they’re at the bottom of your bage), which is apparently opposite of how I’ve made my lists for years! (I’ve also made putting in your phone number optional since several people had issues with that field.)