It’s cold up here on the mountain. We had our first frost night before last and this morning I lit the first fire of the season. Yesterday would have been the day but I left home very early to get to the Farmer’s Market in Santa Fe before they opened. I love driving through the pitch black of morning, well before dawn, to arrive at the market just as the sun is beginning to light the sky.
To wander and watch farmers unload their precious bounty, literally the fruits of their careful labors, gives me more joy than these words are able to express.
There was something extra special about yesterday. Companionably cold and crisp, everyone was bundled up against this new nip in the air. We all know winter is on its way and we’ve been promised a lot of snow. I, at least, yearn for a long winter of it. Some of my favorite days are those when I am snowed in. I find the silence and the beauty of freshly fallen snow especially inspiring and there is just something wonderful about not being able to go anywhere no matter what seemed pressing the day before.
Fall is the season I find most wonderful at the market, lush with pumpkins, squash, beets, turnips, potatoes of every hue, radishes, carrots… their sumptuous colors begging to be painted.
And then there are the fresh chilis…
This is the time of year in New Mexico when they are harvested and roasted in big steel mesh drums over open fires.
Yesterday the market was rich with the warm aroma of their firing, their staccato crackling and popping adding regional notes to the music of what I imagine any market day, anywhere in the world, might sound.
And then the sun appeared, just tipping over the mountains, lighting the tops of everything. Pure magic.
Particularly compelling to me are the farmer’s children. I watch them help their parents with many of the tasks of unloading and selling what was harvested from their fields not long before. And I hope these experiences might lead them to choose this way of life for themselves one day.
For I believe it is a good life, to be a local grower on a small farm, one that offers both reward and hardship, with seasons lived close to the land, dependent on it for their survival (and, in the whole, our survival as well).
This sort of kinship with the earth can foster a desire for its care and the possibility of a deep understanding of the balance of nature, intrinsic knowledge more of us could do well to remember.
For as Chief Seattle wrote, “… the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” I believe many small farmers, like the people I met yesterday, know this.
Imagine, just for a moment, a world in which our leaders had been entirely dependent on mother nature before they came into power. How might things be different? What would life on this planet look like now?
“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride…”
Love to you all,