The annual Stearns Farm fall potluck picnic and work day takes place at the end of September. This year it was the last warm day. There were jars of pickles, bowls of watermelon salsa and kale salad and quiche, and plates of honey cake and carrot cake and plum cake. There was music. There were families. There was a pet rabbit running loose that Lily couldn’t keep her eyes off of, so we had to keep her close for a good part of the afternoon.
Whenever I’m at a gathering with farm people, I realize that I’m with my people. It’s a big distinction to make for someone who hasn’t felt at home here in the Boston area. Farm people are people who care more about dirt and food than they do about cars and bars and cafes TV shows. We were outside, and everyone wanted to be outside. Maybe it’s like that where you are, but it’s not like that for me every day. I imagine Boston is a lot like other cities: the focus is more on being inside, going from building to building, seeing what cool thing happened, or what new restaurant opened, or a show or a movie or something else indoors because all there are are buildings. Nature is presented in carefully controlled parks and plantings, and even when you’re in a green space there are so many other people that it’s difficult to breathe.
The sheer number of buildings, I think, influences the people who live in cities. I don’t come across very many who spend the weekend pulling up weeds, or hiking a mountain, or cooking up jellies and jams. For the most part, that’s ok. But sometimes it makes me feel like I’m too different for Boston.
And so when I’m with farm people, it’s like settling into a comfortable chair with a well-worn book and a mug of tea. I’m thankful.