Mayela’s name means ” Earth, mother, nurse, goddess.” Her name came to me as I connected spiritually and asked for the name that would reflect her essence. She has been Sabi’s second mama since birth and a tender caring soul to me throughout our journey together, she tends to the earth with a natural wisdom…and is most definitely an earth mother/goddess. (She also helps me practice my squatting!)
My name means, “mother of the forest.” I used to dislike my name, especially because I was actually the only one in my family not named based on the Catholic Saint days and instead, after a novela (soap opera) actress! But now, I find it interesting. My mother changed her very fixed pattern, to ‘randomly’ or perhaps intuitively name me in keeping with my essence. It wasn’t until many years after malls, beauty indoctrination, the american consumer dream…that I kept connecting to what felt alive for me; green/nature in all shapes and sizes. Somehow, my mother and sisters (who advocated for this name)…got it right after all.
It’s all very interesting…
I believe that our souls all chose to share this journey with one another. I don’t understand it all, but what I do know is that I treasure every moment sitting out in this field, watching Maya plant literally 6 seedlings to my 1. Chuckling with each other about all manner of little things. Holding the precious baby seedlings in the way a mother just knows. Giving them the best start with the best of hopes.
And the delight, simply, the delight of being together on this earth.
It reminds me of part of the poem by Kahlil Gibran that we read at their blessings and which has inspired us ever since:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday…
This is me with Sabi and my cousin that we brought to visit the farm.
These two chickens Falla and Sweetie both have passed away. I am very sad because these two were my favorites. As you can see we brought them both out to get the bugs that day.
I’ve had chickens almost my whole life and it’s always hard to have a chicken die. Especially the bantam hen, because I had a bantam hen when I was younger. She was a big puffball, a black silkie hen, and so of course, I named her, “Puffy.” The other chickens picked on her, so I had her in a separate little area. She had one chick and the chick’s name was Millie. She was very loving and caring and great mom. I would put food in my hand and she would pick it out right from my hand. One day after a long time of having her, she went missing. A few days later, my mom found her dead in a plastic bag that had hay in it. She had pecked her way in but could not get out. My heart was broken, because she was my special chicken. I drew a picture of her and me with a heart up above it and I put it on my wall. I still think about her often.
So when the bantam hen at the farm, died, I felt really sad. All my other teammates, me, Sabi, Manju and my mom picked flowers and said a little something about her, above her resting place.
Falla was an Americana hen, and me and Laurette named her Falla because she had Fall colors. She died because she got sick and lost her voice.
This picture is a great memory picture. I’m glad I really got to know them for as long as I did.
A few days before Holly’s early demise…
Sabi had gathered up sow bugs aka rollie pollies and was feeding them to her.
Mom: Is it hard to feed them to her, because you really like them? (knowing that he loves rollie pollies, calls them his friends, and likes to play with them alot)
Sabi: Yes…but well…I want to give her something that she loves.. (said with a sigh and a sense of wide understanding)
Though very sad, he accepted her being eaten by a predator, in much the same way.
Nearly every day, my children hear me exclaim something like, “Look how beautiful this is! Look at the patterns!” as I chop vegetables or fruit. To me, the every day eating and cooking we do is a form of art and experience of the sublime that nourishes the soul. I am literally in awe at the complexity and intricate beauty of all plant life. So it was not surprising, yet still poignant to me, when Manju sliced this orange and we saw hearts in it.
Yes, of course, on the farm the fruit (the produce, the soil, the people) is filled with LOVE.
I also love my dirty fingernails in this pic. This is my new normal. I have stopped apologizing for soil in my fingernails. Instead I think of the healthy microbes there hitching a ride from Lynn’s fab compost to my world, inoculating us. (This also helps me, when my five year old refuses to wash the dirt out of his nails)
And here we are! These sprouts unfolding beautifully into the unique bloom that they are meant to be. And the vegetables they are holding are amazing too 😉 I’m so proud and impressed at the way they have each made and are making this experience their own.
And as I look behind us and reflect on that this is just a half acre in the midst of an urban environment…I am hopeful for all of our future happiness together and wherever each of our roads lead us individually. I know that our time here will always be with us.
For me, the closer I feel to true joy and connection (within, with the plants, with others), the more palpable my YES is, the more all the other distractions fade away. I resist less and smile wider.
I was surprised when we started at the farm how uncomfortable it was for me to squat and plant seedlings in the fields. So honestly, when I moved to the field team I was worried…but also ready for a challenge. Recently, I have been very inspired by John Robbins’ book “Healthy at 100” which challenges our limited views of aging and explores features of centenarian culture, including; plant centered (but not vegan) eating, exercise through lifestyle (i.e .farming and walking), community, rest, balance. Before this, I was starting to consider myself ‘old’ at 42 and settle for limited physical ability. After reading the book, I am embracing an attitude of youthfulness and seeking every opportunity to incorporate exercise in my life.
So with that in mind, when Katie asked me to plant this entire seed tray of cilantro, although I freaked out a bit internally, I breathed into it. I should mention, I have an injured muscle behind my right knee that makes it even harder to squat/kneel. So I paced myself. Usually, when we plant a bed, it is with a few of us and the many hands make light work. But this time, it was just me. Though it really was a challenge, I felt proud of myself when I was finished, and relished another opportunity to grow out of patterns of ease and inactivity into purposeful, wholesome action.
You can’t get me to walk a treadmill or go for a run…but I will gladly rake, garden, shovel mulch…and now ‘plant seedlings.’ All of these forms of exercise that are connected to the earth, and include the sensual experience of the earth…hands in soil, woodsy scent of mulch, beauty of all plant and insect life, satisfaction of being part of the earth’s innate processes….are fun and therapeutic forms of exercise; my kind of bootcamp.
I’m hoping in time, to be able to squat like Manju and Chika 😉