I don’t spend much time looking in the rear-view mirror. Just ask my friend Don.
Years ago, he and I went to a party. At the time, I was obsessed with becoming a berry farmer. His friends were all very polite and listened intently as I launched in. “I’m starting a berry farm,” I’d say and then lay out detailed plans of how this would happen.
At the end of the night Don made an observation. ‘You know,’ he said, ‘you never talk about what you do. It’s always about what you’re going to do.’
The fact that I was a beekeeper and raised a small flock of chickens, that I grew flowers and hot weather veggies never came up in my conversations.
Those things I’d mastered. They were now blahzay.
What I really want to talk about is what comes next.
Which is why it is strange how much fun I had Monday night.
Suzy, a loyal farm stand customer, asked me to speak at the Bluff Point Community League. ‘What do you think folks want to hear about?’ I asked. ‘Well,’ she said. ‘How’d you get here? Why, after a life in DC, did you decide to farm? What’s your life like now?’
Hmmmm…not which crops I’m contemplating next year? Not new varieties or growing methods? Expansion plans? None of that?
Nope. Just your story. We want to hear your story.
There couldn’t be a more generous offer.
The evening was nearly perfect. Judy greeted me. Then Pete, Diane, Gary, everyone, out to have a nice night out and enjoy each other’s company. The potluck was extraordinary. Even the business meeting was breezy and light. No shaming folks to volunteer or hand-wringing over fundraising and membership rolls.
There was only one disappointment Monday night. The slide show of pictures chronicling the change in the farm over the past five years refused to work. Damn electronics.
But, knowing my story better than anyone, I shared how I came to the Northern Neck, the radical reinvention of my life from a DC lobbyist to a farmer and the joy and success I’ve found in this very special and unique community.
It was good to take a moment to look back. To celebrate the growth of the farm. To acknowledge the growth of my own courage and character.
If Don is reading this, come visit, I miss you. And if my friends from the Bluff Point Community League are reading, thank you for a lovely evening and a chance to celebrate all the good things in life. I hope to see you all again soon.