Having your Cake & Eating it Too
by Bekah Gorman
Some years ago, I was sitting in the burger night field with Corie having a monthly check in. We sat in the sun for an hour or so discussing the ins and outs of my next year at the farm; my responsibilities, projects, focuses, etc. I remember Corie finishing up sharing with me her thoughts about my role and then me nervously whispering and slurring as I tried to get out as fast as possible: “cool so I was also wondering how you felt about mehikingthePacificCrestTrailin2017andthencomingbacktoworkhere….” (silence, breathing, silence, breathing). I've gotten better with timing when it comes to sharing my thoughts, but this was definitely one of my less fine moments. Corie, you were so calm and gracefully just replied, “I need to think about this.”
Well, she thunk...and I'm incredibly fortunate. Corie proposed that if I could wait until 2018, she could make it work for me to return to the farm upon completing the trail.
Commence Bekah's looks of shock and blinking foggily into the headlights. WHAT!? REALLY? OF COURSE I CAN WAIT! I mean come ON! Where in the WORLD can you find a place where your boss makes room for you to leave for 6 months AND RETURN!?!?!?
So, here we are. 2018 and one week away from departure.
The PCT, short for The Pacific Crest Trail, is a 2,658 mile hiking trail that runs from the border of California and Mexico up to the border of Washington and Canada. It's been a dream of ours to hike it...walking at a steady pace allowing us to truly know the land throughout its varying landscapes ranging from the Mojave Desert to the High Sierras, encountering other hikers, meeting “trail angels” (people who make it their mission to carry and leave water or food on the trail, sometimes offering a ride/lodging on the trail for the hikers), encountering challenging weather and unforeseen circumstances, all the while working to shed the opinions, judgments, expectations, and barriers we've naturally created for ourselves over the past decade.
If you were wondering who the other end of the “us” is, I'm going with my best friend and life partner Eric. Together we've been planning and prepping everything from weighing out our backpacks by the ounce, researching the safest ways to maneuver around rattlesnakes, double checking that Grizzly bears do NOT in fact live along the PCT, studying up on the trail towns and food options along the route, dehydrating beef from the farm!!, making homemade energy bars, the list could go on. I have deep gratitude for Eric's logistics planning and I've been deeply humbled by the degree of interest and support people have been taking in our journey.
Now, as we slide into the final chapter before heading off, tying up loose ends, finishing projects that have been lingering, I find myself filled with what I call “EEEEing” moments. Eeeeing is when you are so excited/happy/grateful/overwhelmed that all that makes sense to do is “eeeee!” inside (it's a thing that kinda runs in my family).
As I finish CSA spreadsheets and look through all the names of the families and individuals I've had the privilege to meet over the past years. I eee as I get to have some really sacred and special time with farm team members, friends, and family. Eeeing happens when I spend the day with my Village School Family, my love growing for them with each session. It happens when I get to walk another time along my commute to and from the farm. It happens when I see Sprouts kiddos relishing in Mike's amazing baked goods, when I see the insects awakening after the winter slumber...in sum, it's happening with a rapidly increasing degree of regularity about EVERYTHING I'm witnessing and experiencing lately, at the farm and in Vermont in general.
It seems that when we have these marked moments in our lives such as a trip, the seasons, a birth, or a death, that our hearts begin to look back, to become nostalgic, to want to hold onto everything in this new eyes-wide-open kind of way. It's this new appreciation for the EVERY DAY... not only for the grandiose moments. In fact, I would now argue that it is IN the every day that we can find the most to feel grateful for, for it is these things that create the slowly maturing and rich stories and memories and it is these things that are making me feel abundantly grateful.
Isn't it ironic that when we are phasing out of something we find such gratitude and appreciation for it? It's like, in the act of letting go, we allow the doors, emotions, reflections, love, challenges, abundance to FLOW. And in doing so, we truly find a presentness that only exists because of this departure. Side Note: I AM COMING BACK! (y'all are stuck with me :)
Looking back now on these past 5 years I begin to SEE the story and the thread of my role at Bread & Butter Farm. But I can see it now more clearly because I'm looking at it through a new lens; a lens of leaving for a time. I don't mean to say that we all need to leave that which we love in order to find what we're grateful for. I only mean to share with you the abundance I am feeling right now; the reflective gratitude that makes all the normal small and petty annoyances of the every day “piff” away into smitharines and be replaced with a newfound appreciation and endearment.
Although it sounds kind of dramatic to say this, it feels true to say to you that the farm has really raised me. Perhaps I can be more accurate if I say, has really raised me as an adult thus far. I feel like we all need places to be eternal students. All so often we leave our parents' homes and then begin our own homes and lives and families, losing the mentorship and the tracking of our human development which is such a strong part of childhood (think birthday parties, graduations, bar/bat mitzvahs, boy/girl scouts, height markings on the wall, etc).
But what if throughout our whole life, becoming adults and elders, we could receive this same degree of support and mentorship all along the way?
Well, this is precisely what the farm has felt like for me as I've moved through my pivotal 20's. I've felt HELD as I've entered adulthood by this place. Corie and Chris have been my second parents and dearest mentors, Henry and Sammy, my little brother and sister, and add to it the slew of cooky, brilliant, cousins otherwise known as my fellow farming peers who constantly hold up a mirror for me to better see myself and grow….well, I always wanted a big family.
Bread & Butter Farm has shaped who I am as an adult in so many ways. It has opened the doors for me to be able to craft and create absolutely any dream I can imagine and put the time into with loving and honest guidance being given to me all the way. It has given me the gift of community….and because of this, I feel I have the most solid foundation I could have ever dreamed of. While 5 years has felt like such a long time to be in one place, it simultaneously feels like a total BLIP in the scheme of things. 5 years has produced some of the most important relationships of my entire life and yet has been absolutely just the beginning, which is crazy. It's crazy to think about what could happen with an entire LIFETIME in this community, developing, growing, and changing together. I feel abundance. I feel emotion. I feel CONNECTION. I feel humbled.
From delivering bread twice a week to where I am today, jeez how did it even all happen? From my crooked rows in the greenhouse, seeding mishaps, and wondering how I could ever get fast enough, little did I know that those beginnings would set the stage for the most important place I've ever been lucky enough to call home.
I could fill pages and pages with gratitudes, memories, reflections, and musings of my time here. But because I only have your attention for so long, I'll wrap up and hope the words I've put together can do a bit of justice to the way I feel about this place.
I hope that when I return I can keep getting to know MORE and MORE of you so that we can together keep weaving the network of land based love, physical and spiritual nutrition, mindfulness and inspiration, reflection, challenge, and growth. YOU are the people I want to grow old with.
Lastly, I want to say that while Eric and I are leaving in order to go embark on an adventure that we've always wanted to do for the sheer fun of it, in perhaps larger part (and what is really helping soothe me as we leave for leaving the farm for me is hard to do), we go with the recognition that we are leaving in order to challenge ourselves and re-open our eyes in order to return and better serve you all, our community. Leaving with you all in our minds and hearts makes it WAY more easy to drive away. Leaving knowing that we are going into a rite of passage in order to return and re-enter into the next chapter of service to you all makes it all make sense. So thank you for coming with us, thank you for being with us, for holding us up. I am eternally full of overflowing love and gratitude for being on this path with you.
Corie, thank you for taking me in some years ago and for taking me back in once again….for letting me have my cake and eat it too.
It would be an honor if you followed us on this adventure at our public instagram page (you don't need an account to see our photos: sunnyrivervt)
I love and appreciate you with all my heart. See you in the fall!!
Bekah and Eric