Anyone else out there bouncing back and forth on the pinball machine of emotion? As you can read in my previous post, the news that John Prine passed away truly brought me to my knees earlier in the week. It opened up so many emotions I’d been pushing down. Way, way, way down.
But then a lot of really good things started happening. The night after he passed, I sat in a chair in my living room with the window open, with a glass of wine, and listened to John Prine songs back to back. I haven’t done that in forever. Normally, I’d have some movie that keeps the kids interested on as background noise, but they were forced to actually play with each other in their rooms while the adults listened to music. Before the great pause, we never slowed down long enough to just sit and listen to music, so I hope this new habit sticks after all this is over.
This week had many bright spots to balance out the dark. My friend T Marie King asked all of us what the following statement meant to us, “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness,” and as I watched the actions of others this week, I saw this statement come to life.
I don’t know if you’ve had the chance to follow Jones Valley Teaching Farm yet on Instagram or Facebook, but you should. In a time when we were forced to abandon our daily lessons, after school programs, and time with students, our staff is churning out educational content for kiddos and parents!
Compost 101 Part One (The kids and I will be building out our compost bin following these instructions today.)
Here’s a link to a lesson from Farmer Fern: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-stR2tBHfY/
Here are the lessons you can download: https://jvtf.org/compost-101/
Compost 101 Part Two
Here’s a link to a lesson from Farmer TJ: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-yBazAht40/
Here are the lessons you can download: https://jvtf.org/compost-101-part-two/
This week also marked the very first week that we distributed food and flowers! When Spring arrives on the Farm, it reinvigorates us. The first flowers and veggies mean all the work during the winter prepared us for this moment. We were proud to partner with HICA to distribute 25 family produce bags filled with lettuce, collards, carrots, radishes, and green onions.
We also participated on a community- focused phone call (thanks to Mashonda Taylor and the Woodlawn Foundation for leading the way) and when I announced we needed more masks and cleaning supplies, we got them the very next day (thank you, Canterbury and Christian Service Mission).
On Friday, we celebrated the first bouquets of the season and dropped them off at UAB Medicine. Two of the arrangements will go on the nurse stations and the rest will be handed out at shift change for first responders to take home with them. Jones Valley Teaching Farm will continue to donate our flowers throughout the Spring and Summer.
We ordered seeds so that we can begin sowing and sharing with our community. Our friends at Yellowhammer Creative launched a new campaign to support Jones Valley Teaching Farm and so many of our friends and now you can help out by clicking here: https://www.yellowhammer.org/localsseries/jonesvalley
Finally, as I was sitting at one of our teaching farms this week all covered up with a mask made and donated to us, I saw this mama bird fly over to her babies and feed them. There was something about that moment mixed in with the other great things happening at the same time that brought all of it in focus. I told our staff to take half a day off because they worked so very hard all week and during this really crazy time, we all need breathers. I’m not so sure I took the breaths I needed prior to the Universe sending us all to our rooms. I’m welcoming the uncomfortable waves of realization that I was participating in this big, wide world in a very unsustainable way and that directly affected my work, my colleagues, my family, my friends, and everything in between. I doubt I ever paid as much attention in my daily life to the things I pay attention to now.
I was talking to a friend yesterday and said that this time – this pause – this “time spent in our respective rooms,” has forced me to get down to the barest of bare. You have to strip all the stuff away to find where you actually really are in all this. I spent a lot of time keeping up with the world and all of its expectations and even at my most “stripped away self” right now, I’ve realized that I’ve actually been enough this entire time.
A lot of folks are asking me about Easter and the kids. I’ve always struggled with the commercialization and capitalization of holidays, so this weekend we are going to take a break, which means no baskets full of stuff that never really mattered in the first place. We just found old baskets and are hiding the plastic eggs from last year and that will be absolutely enough. The world has paused for a reason and I really do think this is part of the why.
Okay so here’s my last thing. I read this article and want to shout it from the rooftops. Wherever you are in “the great pause” – because I do know it has affected each of us differently and our worries are not all the same – I hope you know you are enough in this very moment – a moment we will never get back, but could learn so much from moving forward.