On Lambs and Lettuce, Moms and Dads, Eden, and Grocery Stores
For reasons I don’t entirely understand, Kriss and Shannon hold small events at their farm wherein the admission fee is simply showing up. Â Being new to Circle M, I don’t know how many times a year they do this, but I plan on attending every one of them. Â How often do we get to spend hours of time with complete strangers who feel like lifelong friends? Â Maybe that doesn’t sound appealing to you, but it should. Â It’s sort of like getting to experience the honeymoon phase of a relationship without having to deal with the awkward Hi-My-Name-is-Sam-What-Do-You-Do part, or the inevitable moment where the similarities end and everyone begins to secretly hate one another.
Or maybe it’s beyond all of those things and what we really get to experience is the feeling of many people we’ve loved for many years finally coming back together for a few hours of shared memory. Â Except, we don’t have any shared memories. Â We are total strangers who meet in a sort of Eden where all of the posturing and uncertainty that makes normal interaction so draining has been stripped away, and neither do we carry the weight of history (and I’m not saying that “the weight of history” is necessarily a negative weight, but it nevertheless burdens us in a way), so that we become like children plunked down on a green world with no knowledge of how, as children, we are expected to behave. Â This enables us to do something very rare indeed: hang motionless inside of the very moment we currently inhabit.
And then we leave before the “real world” can come crashing down upon us like a hunter.
My parents were visiting from New Jersey and Ashley and I brought them along. Â We didn’t really know the procedure–if any–for bringing guests, but it seemed like a normal thing to do, like they were part of the family because they were, well, part of the family.
And this was obviously true.
They fit in like everyone fits in: My mom could do that thing that some homeschooling parents do where they spend more time talking with animals than with people, and my dad could stand hintingly at the edge of a group of musicians and actually be asked to sing some songs (which is really weird and totally made his night). Â They could be characteristically strange and goofy because, and I include myself into this statement, everyone there was characteristically strange and goofy. Â That’s why we were all so darn happy.
Thinking about it now, I find it wonderfully paradoxical how the Circle M CSA works. Â At what has sadly become to be known as a “traditional” grocery store, everyone picks up the food in the same place; we see each other, we walk walk down the same isles, check out at the same registers, and then drive away in separate cars, to eat in separate houses, and live separate lives. Â At Circle M, we pick up our boxes of produce in separate locations (whether it be in New Glarus, Dodgville, or Madison), don’t see anyone else there, and, yes, we still drive home in our separate cars and live our separate lives, but then we come together at the farm and we eat the same food, we play the same games, we felt the same wool.
The one experience begins with a forced togetherness and ends with intentional separation. Â The other begins with a necessary separateness and ends with joyful togetherness.
May life continue to fill us with such undeserved blessings.