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green stringing it

August 5, 2009
our local veggies!

our local veggies!

We often go to Green String Farm on Adobe Road for veggies during the week. It’s open every day, so I never have to wonder about the hours. Right now it is all about the berries, berries, berries! We pick up a few baskets this week and one of the interns tells us about their summer barn dance Saturday. I can’t wait!

Saturday comes and we head out to the hoedown. We live in the middle of town, but this farm at the edge of the village is only about 12 minutes driving from our house. When we arrive, Lukas practically leaps out of the carseat and heads for the chickens, toddling along parked cars on the crescent shaped gravel road into the farm. Scott follows after us taking photos of Sonoma Mountain at dusk covered with summer grasses, grapevines and the round heads of a garlic patch in the foreground. Meandering toward the barns and people, we find a table with vegetables, preserves, cheese, bread and olive oil. I pick up Lukas and when we stop to sample, he spies the baskets of berries on the next table and points to them dramatically, “Baybay!” (his word for berries). He is leaning out of my arms toward the tables of berries, pointing and calling the name of the berries. So of course we pick up a few baskets, and soon his face is covered with dark berry juice and a big smile.

green string farm with sonoma mountain

green string farm with sonoma mountain

We immediately see a bunch of people we know, mothers from the playgroup, friends from around town, friends from our activist days (days which are on a bit of a hiatus now…) all hanging out on hay bales and under grape draped trellises, enjoying their picnics and berries and baked goods. A farm intern is roasting vegetables for us to stack on bread with a drizzle of organic local olive oil. I realize that we just went to this event assuming we’d see lots of our friends, and of course we do—I love it!

Lukas and I are running around the entire farm. He climbs on a geodesic dome with some other kids, walks through the grass, walks down a hill, throws bean bags into a hole cut into a white wooden ramp, looks into the hole, sits on the ramp, takes off towards the goats with his dad. I eat apricot preserves on bread with Noni, and we talk about graywater systems that we are both currently installing and how great it is that graywater systems just became legal today in our town. She introduces me to her cousin from Japan who is visiting for 10 days with her two girls. We watch kids tumble and run and smile and pull branches off the willow tree all around us.

The evening sky is full of soft long clouds streaking across each other, with gray and gold light coming through them onto our bustling scene, which is turning a bit chilly, but still remains comfortable. I feel so relaxed and my thoughts from the beach return: thoughts about our human need to be outside and to be nurtured by nature. I notice how good it feels to be outdoors with lots of other people around. So often we are outside by ourselves, or maybe one or two other people. Being in nature has become some kind of solitary individual pursuit, á la Edward Abbey. I too love being outside in solitude, yet there is something very right about being out here with others, not just a few others, but an entire community. I feel the easiness of being with kids and with each other while here in this outdoor community setting. We are talking, eating, dancing, and and moving effortlessly around the landscape; it is expansive, it feels unlimited, it is fun.

from the greenstring website

from the greenstring website

Music is wafting out of the barn, tempting us over there. White lights are strung across the rafters, olive trees adorn the posts and a country band is playing at the far end of the barn. A sea of people between us and the band are sitting on hay bales, dancing, conversing and laughing. Lukas walks into the middle of it all, allowing me to walk into the middle of it all, and starts clapping along to the music and doing a little sway, then he’s pointing with delight at Allie’s yellow rainboots. Molly is sitting against the barn wall, nursing her 4 month baby, who is bundled up in a little knitted hat and a cozy blanket. Kids are dancing and riding on their Dads’ shoulders and Lukas walks through the crowd straight up the band, who are wearing western shirts, and tries to go onstage. After a redirect by me, we are headed the other way and when we exit the barn, he turns right back around and goes back into the crowd. The game continues.

His dad takes over and I find myself outside talking to Rebekah about our kids. She has a 3 year old who I first met when he was one. She has the same situation as I do with motherhood, (the one where I feel like I am going insane much of the time and also love him so much I can’t believe it) and she is wonderfully honest about all of it and so loving with her son, who is running around the farm with an older kid. She may question wanting to be a mother but she seems really good to me. She is so radiant and happy tonight; you can feel the place rejuvinating us all.

I realize how most of my life I have been deciding between nature and community. It is a terrible choice to have to make, since we need and want both. For the moment, these open fields growing vegetables and barns full of people align my twin desires.

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