It doesn't end, really. The beginning of a circle is a hard thing to pin down, after all. But we will call this day the beginning, since it is the first day we are bringing shares to our lovely people. We will bring with us the rest of the circle, going back to what we called the end, back in June. We will carry the summertime in the shape of tasty little peppers, planted not long after we celebrated the end, in the sweet potatoes that we planted before July arrived. We will bring with us the exhalation of summer as it yielded to autumn, in sunflowers gold and brown, in marigolds and zinnias.

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And we will bring the first of fall too, in tender greens and sweet roots and kale shoots. And that arc-shaped piece of time that connects us to when last we saw you all will be there in our hands and in the goofy patterns of our tan lines, a bit red-necked, browner along our forearms and the backs of our hands. Our eyes will carry the rains and thunder of summertime afternoons and the dew of cool sweet mornings, will bring the blazing midday sun of August and the rust-colored light of last weeks blood moon eclipse. My son turned 11 years old that day, and our fourth and final apprentice Chelsea arrived too.

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The world is so thick with its turning of time, its tidal motion, its folding in over itself. If we bother to look, we see signs everywhere. Of what? So much, its hard to tell. But copper toned sycamore leaves falling and lotus pods aloft on the prairie and less haymaking in the neighboring fields are October through and through. I sowed ryegrass through the pastures and everywhere I could manage to throw seed the day before yesterday, and yesterdays rains should have the vivid green tips of its sprouts pushing audaciously through the gathering carpet of sweet gum leaves in the upper pasture in no time at all. Beyond its capacity to feed our grazing animals through wintertime, just the color alone is such cheery contrast to the sepia tones of late fall, and the grayer days of winter. This painting of the land is one of the more profound joys I experience in this work.

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Somehow it is magic, you know, to bend time this way. To bring spring into the depths of winter, to bring color into a pallid world, to feel all parts of the circle simultaneously. In doing this work, we find that the edges of our capacities are where we discover our more fantastic powers. It is in the aftermath of hours of pulling bulging sweet potato tubers from the earth in hot florida sunshine that we feel the sheer wonder of the pile of food we have collected. It is after we have hoed a whole handful of rows of broccoli adolescents that we feel the magnificence of our work on their behalf, can almost hear them giving thanks.

When we built a fence around the peach orchard and let the Araucana chicks out into grassy freedom, so many layers of happiness collided; theirs, our own, the peach trees. As I wrote just now (without a backspace or apostrophe on my keyboard, btw;) a bird flew into my windowpane. Now it sits on my lap as I type, stunned but recovering. More to marvel at all the time...

So here we are, with food and flowers in hand, dinners and festivals and a whole season before us just beginning to unfold. Today marks the beginning of our sixth season of Community Supported Agriculture at Swallowtail Farm. Like remembering the day Rain was born, the farm a vocational third child, it seems unfathomable that either so little or so much time has passed since that other beginning, depending on how I think about it. I remember clearly the day I brought the plow to the pasture for the first time and looked up to see a dozen swallowtail kites circling overhead. And good lord we had no idea what we were doing then! Yet it was birthed, and it is coming into its own in a shape very clearly in line with the original vision, miracle of miracles. We have you all to thank in so many ways for that. And we are glad that it is time to see you all, to return to that place in the circle where we bring truckloads of fresh food and flowers to our families and friends once again!

Cheers and see you in no time,

Noah Shitama

Swallowtail Farmer




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AuthorNoah Shitama