Catch and Release
Been trying for a long time to think about how to say what I want to say. Sentences and sentiments inconveniently flit across my brain like ticker tape during tasks I can’t stop – like when I’m milking or ducking beneath a crooked branch in the woods, pulling it aside for the goats trailing behind. The other day I noticed that bundles of baling twine had been neatly tied and tucked by someone, the trash cans were clean and empty, the feed barrels stocked. All small tasks completed by someone other than me, and in those fleeting moments comes a flood of emotion and words I want to say to the someones who did those things for me; for the farm, really. I actually want to ask the universe for one brief moment to drop down onto my knees and weep with gratitude. But I don’t, because I can’t, and because that’s pretty dramatic (even for me).
Instead I want to say this: To every single person who has ever, in any small way, helped to lighten the load, to express appreciation for what we do, to clean a mess, to offer to clean a mess, to ask how I’m feeling after I had to clean a mess: Thank You. To the gentleman who watched me re-stock the fridge at one of my vendor’s locations, recognized I was the maker behind the label, decided it was important enough to wait patiently until I was done just to tell me he enjoyed the cheese – Thank You. To every single person who read a class or event description and decided to take a chance that their hard-earned dollars and time were worth the gamble on this farm – Thank You. To the chefs who sampled our cheese and thought it deserved at seat at their tables in a city lousy with excellent (excellent) cheese options – Thank You. To our wholesalers who took a chance on the idea that a larger audience might be interested in our small offerings – Thank You.
And to those of you who have shared in the daily work, and the daily drama (oh, the drama) and the daily chaos, and the back and the forth. Who have washed dishes, and tucked cheeses into briny beds, helped move milk, packaged (and packaged and packaged. And then packaged), who have sweated harder than they thought possible during sweltering milkings, helped me diagnose and treat ill animals, nursed babies, moved feed, chucked hay, emptied trash cans, swept, mopped, mended, schlepped cheese on my behalf…you know who you are. But you’ll probably never know what your work has meant to this very little farm.
To my family who has taken a very (v e r y) large role in the raising of my children, who has listened to asinine ideas and cheered me on anyway, who has quietly watched me try on a series of professions that just..never…fit. For all that, plus all the other things I’m not mentioning. Thank You. Thank You.
To Jeremy, the foundation beneath every single thing that’s standing, the steady force that binds and fixes and supports, the consummate hand-holder and downplayer and cheerleader and…well.. – Thank You. You are, you know, everything.
Saturday was our last goat walk of this season which has been, in a word: validating. These events are selfishly held because of the joy they bring me personally as I witness the joy they seem to bring our guests. I try not to wade too deep into what is a current of emotion that inevitably rushes through the daily grind of operating a small business dependent upon so many beating hearts, so much love, so much support, so much faith in something you can’t ever really grasp. Not really. But in those ephemeral moments I can catch the beauty of what we try to create, I hold it close enough to feel the energy coursing – the energy I need to keep making plans, turning on the lights the next day, to keep going. Then I let it go, release it back into the ether.
The winter break is coming, I feel it like a sigh I’m suppressing and just as soon as it’s here I’ll have my eye on the horizon quivering with the anticipation of kidding season. But for now, for right now, I’m trying to unclench my fists so they’re open to the good stuff that comes our way. This is the rhythm of everything when you stop and pay attention– a fleeting catch then release of momentary joy, victory, happiness. Take it in, let it go, give it back – get back to work.
And between all of that, all of that, all of that – gratitude.
Thank. You. A very special thank you to Filipa who – among the many talents she contributes to the farm- is a professional photographer and captured these beautiful images.