Sunday, January 09, 2011

Flirting and Agriculture on the Westcoast - or -how to keep warm throughout the trim season

He lifted her up

They climbed the ladder onto the dry shed roof
Big beautiful and freshly built
And sat there with the stars
Late in October
Smoking cut cigarettes
being strangers becoming friends

It's quite something else
The way the seasons turn out here
Everything is mostly evergreen
With an occasional deciduous treat
The flood of memories that rush in with the spotting of a yellow or orange leaf.
Can you still smell fall out there?
I miss each and every pile of brown wet leaves raked by the side of the road.
Here it all burns.

The seasons change out west is marked by harvest. Something equally extraordinary happens this time of year, as miles of brilliant color littering the Garden State Prkwy distract drivers from the monotony of their commute, mother natures beautiful locks of foliage attracting out of town oglers, the western lands are alive and buzzing with an influx of transient eager faces all on the same mission.

Come harvest time a certain caliber of folk are gathered together. Friends of friends of friends who may know a friend or two of yours, mostly strangers, travel from literally all over the world to become a part of this community. To live and work together, sequestered on farms hidden in the landscape at the end of private dirt roads in remote valleys. Families are born.

I guess you wouldn't consider it dissimilar to a typical working environment in some aspects. You are there to get paid, and you may not get along with all your colleagues. Some days are productive, some asi asi. But one overwhelming difference is that at the end of a 9-5 work day (so to say) you get to go home. During harvest you're already home.

You have chosen to become part of a whole. You work eat play and grow as one. You cook meals for your 20+- family members. You sort out misunderstandings and calculate costs. You roll your ankle in the mud. You fix atv's and generators. You tell stories. You turn buses into bunk houses. You fend off rippers and put out fires. You catch moths with the littles and welcome new family with hot tea and coffee. You sing and dance and joke and laugh. You fight. You take cigarette and beer orders before you drive into town. You help a family member get to the clinic 1 and 1/2 hours away for an abortion. You explore. You feed the livestock and cry when you lose a goat. You celebrate birthdays. You learn. You listen. You run out of water and refill the tank. You walk up the road to search for reception. You avoid poison oak. You climb up ladders onto dry shed roofs. You make family outta strangers.

3 to 5 months later you part ways
Pockets full
Lives changed
Strangers not so strange.
And you keep in touch and you don't forget.
maybe you'll see them around the same time next year
Or at a show or festival
But that's a whole other story revolving around an even larger family

You miss it when it's gone
You enjoy the freedom of the trade
Nothings really free though.
There's a lot of risk and even more money involved.
If I wanted to fool around with numbers and other peoples money all day I would have become a stock broker or investment banker
Not everyone loves every facet of their profession
I sure do love my family though
And taking chances
And ladders and rooftops and late October stars
And remembering the smell of fall on the east coast....

1 comment:

Peter Aaron Rogen said...

Hey Liz...I sent to one of my made her cry a that good way...thanks for this's wonderful and hits home.