A car pulled into the parking area. Its Wednesday. I’m mowing the front patch of grass by the road and the stand is closed.
I cover up my annoyance with a quick smile and get off the mower, leaving it running.
He’s looking for eggs, I tell myself, or a few tomatoes. I’ll explain quickly that we don’t open until tomorrow and hopefully be able to finish my mowing before the chickens get too cranky.
The man moves towards me with an easy smile and a hand stretched out. We know each other although we’ve only met once, years ago in a crowded house.
He tells me his name and I say, yes, and walk to the mower to turn it off.
The man is a grower. An excellent grower. I know him as well through his produce as I do through his name.
The man doesn’t sell to me, although I wish he would. There’s an etiquette, even in the veggie world, that keeps me from contacting him. But here he is, in my parking area, talking to me about produce.
I’m suspicious. What is it he wants to know? Who sent him to check in on the business? I slap down the instinct to throw up my guard. Too much of my life has been spent in that space and I’m not going back. Plus, all I get is kindness.
We talk tomatoes. Corn. Kale and asparagus. The conversation isn’t business. It’s the buried passion that keeps us doing this day after day. We share the thrill of what works and what doesn’t. And the hope of always growing better.
Before I knew it, we were in the middle of the garden inspecting weeds and vegetables and sharing knowledge and joy. The next item on the to-do list long forgotten. There were promises of getting together and sharing more.
There are moments like these when I realize how truly lucky I am. There isn’t a single part of my work that I don’t love. All of it challenges me, motivates me, gives me purpose. But there are rare moments, when I meet a kindred spirit of a grower, and life stops, just for a little while. And I remember what brought me here in the first place.
I’m not sure if I’ll see him again. Or if he’ll sell to me. It really doesn’t matter. We are more connected now than I ever thought possible, and that’s what it is all about.