I rise in darkness, slip into my ashen boots, and step through crystalline dew under starlight. As I follow the cowpath by feel through the upper pasture, the new moon provides revelation through its absence for the ancient light pinpricking the indigo depths above. There is another covering, filling the valleys like a vaporous flood at the lowest altitudes. It is prismatic and obscuring and silent as a mystic.


My sister Mariko is getting married this weekend at the farm. It has been something like preparing for a slow-approaching army, away across a vast distance, closer every day, and multitudinous in its ranks and columns, raising dust as it moves. Now it is on our doorstep, and our preparations have been rather more bohemian than spartan: growing flowers, salad greens, sowing grass, making plans for a feasting and dancing. Even so, I still think the slow-approaching army analogy somehow fits. Of course, once it arrives, it will likely combust into a beautiful celebration, and the flowers and food and grass and dancing will conspire to send us to bed feeling love and exhaustion.

We are in a sweet spot in the north florida growing season; before the sandhill cranes arrive, frosts and wintry cold in tow, but comfortably past the summer sun. It is a good time for growing. We are planting strawberries, onions, garlic, lettuces, cabbages, broccoli, chard, kale, spinach, carrots, radishes, turnips, beets, rutabagas, arugula, tatsoi, boc choi, savoy and so much more this week and next, and we've put ranunculus bulbs in and are watching the narcissus that we planted last year at this time shoot up with springtime-like vigor. October and November are in a way a sort of Spring for Florida farming. The winter of summer is over, and the entropy of syrupy heat and humidity give way to more generous conditions for growth. It is time to get the seeds up and established, good and green before the daylight wanes, the sun shies a bit, the cold is emboldened, and the growth impulse slows to a crawl between new years and valentines day. We will be like the bees, and busy ourselves while the gettin is good!

Today is another eclipse, and with it, Emily will arrive. We will go to market to bring food and flowers to a small multitude, work toward another harvest tomorrow, and another the day after, and find time in the small spaces to dwell in the places where we are. After our conversations in the rows, in between the chatter of lunch and the hustle of washing and packing, in the moments and spaces of the farm that surprise us with their stillness, like watching week-old chicks bob and weave through arrowroot and yucca skyscrapers, or yesterday while moving earth with the tractor, and I dumped a big banded water snake out along with the scoop of dirt as I tilted the tractor bucket. Our movement arrested, our purpose given pause, we are reminded that the present is vivid and vital and we are in it. And then our eyes are prismatic, and we can hear the life coursing through the silence. 

AuthorNoah Shitama