It's finally fresh corn season on the farm. In just the week I was gone, our first planting came and (almost) went. Our next one is fully pumping now, and we have four more waiting after that. Imagine: the youth farmers were planting baby seedlings for our last round, just down the field from where others were harvesting from the first round last week. Field two, behind the greenhouses, is a microcosm of the summer season, with three successional rounds planted side by side, baby to kid to teenager corn stalks, all still waiting to tassel and reproduce. The crazy part of it all, I realized yesterday, is that each planting's maturity brings us one week closer to the end of the crew's season. By the time they say goodbye at the end of September, we'll be closing in on those last plantings that today seem so far off from ever producing ears.
Maybe I'm putting too much weight on that corn. My mind flipped a bit during stretching circle this morning when Madison, rubbing her eyes as she chose a stretch to share, commented that she took it easy last weekend, tried to rest a lot, and with a whine, "just trying to get more sleep before school starts."
"Less than a month!" someone else threw into the circle. August is their last hoorah not only for free time, but for spending more than just a weekend morning on the farm. And our last chance to get the space fully in shape, weeded, planted, and ready to tackle the abundant harvests of autumn with a skeleton crew and volunteer groups.
And while we're pushing forward to finish plantings and tame weeds on the farm, people on the crew are going through their own lot of challenges in life. Being forced to move from their homes, dealing with domestic abuse, supporting themselves and living on their own for the first time, recovering from assault, warding off infections and illnesses, figuring out alternative modes of transportation, and the constant navigating of relationships that seems to fall most heavily on teenagers. Whenever I listen to someone's story, I'm reminded that the farm is just a small piece of their complex life-- that even the most dedicated of them will eventually let it all go and shift focus to school and friends and other jobs come wintertime.
But for now, the crew is in their late season groove, we still have weeks to share with one another, and that mighty corn is bumpin'. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.