Farmwives Have the Best Booty
Updated: Jun 14, 2019
I have landed work on a farm in rural southern Virginia. I never thought I would accept Virginia as a kind of home, but I have in this place where the land is vastly untouched, the people live simply, the air quality is purer and so much better for my health, and the mountains have a blue tint to them from the fog that covers the valley. It’s pretty wet here and Ya said we may be about to do some dry farming out here- not worry about watering everyday; just let the land and climate take care of the plants for us. The trees are this beautiful vibrant green and there are so many varieties that it intimidates me to live amongst them without knowing who they are. It’s very quiet here and I don’t have much cell phone service, so I’m forced into presence.
The first time I came to visit, I was on mushrooms and we went for a walk through the woods. It was cold back then, but I didn’t notice. I felt my grandfather’s presence so strongly that I turned into a little kid and talked to him as he led me over parts of the land. I cried and came down while sitting on a stone as the sunset closed like a curtain of light over my face. I miss my grandfather, even though I didn’t know him, but I smelled him- what I’ve always thought to be his presence around me- when I was little. I probably play the guitar because of him. I know I love plants and nature because of him. I love to feel closer to him in this way. I’m just now reminded of my good friend, TJ, who recently moved to New Orleans, their grandfather’s family town. I'm so proud of them, so happy they’re in a place that they’ve always wanted to be. Similarly, this is how I’m experiencing life now.
I knew I would need to live on land about 4 years ago, and my knowing was preceded by a strong interest in herbs and using herbs as medicine. I get off on studying them. When I found farming, I got shook. I cried again and again at the beauty of the messages I was getting from Soul Fire Farm that first summer I took the Black&Latinx Farmer Immersion program in 2016. It was sobering. I was at once happy to have found my lifestyle and timid about the magnitude of living it. I still am timid about it. I mean, I’m doing it, but I feel a weight of anxiety behind me that I’m just carrying as I move ahead, hoping that in time, it falls away and releases me. It’s fear. I’m scared of being THIS in life. Of being so still, working my body so perfectly hard, of being dirty and sweaty and perhaps rarely clean. Mostly, of forgetting the place in the world that I’ve tried so long to cultivate (ha). But that place was for other people to be comfortable with me, for my appearance in society. I’m scared to change. Genuinely. My spouse is right by my side, but even she knows this is change. We already feel the physical space it puts between us when we’re on the same land, but we work toward something that’s greater than us- something we’ve both longed for individually- that pieces together a puzzle that other people whom we love and support can take refuge in.
In general, I feel often afraid at being fully in my body. It shows up when I’m working on a task like washing dishes, and I stand on the outside of my feet until I feel my ankles start to turn over, then I abruptly stop. I shift my weight to fulfill each whole foot. I don’t remember if I’ve always done this, but I do remember twisting/bending my ankles a lot growing up- sort of, falling to the outside of them. It’s like my feet just weren’t quite ready to stand, and certainly not to carry weight. This year, I’ve been focused on standing in balance. Going back to toddlerhood and working my way up from there, learning to walk again. Stronger, firmer, more ready. It is because of this work that I am even aware when my feet are rolling out. This could be a very long process- perhaps even a lifetime of relearning. I’m not entirely sure what the root of it is. I hope this farm-work is of assistance in finding it.