In the dirt

Picture this:

Ted's driving the tractor for a final, flat, ready-to-plant till on the last beds in Field Two.  Michael and I are racing back and forth down the other end of the field with drip tape lines, trying to get them laid out before lunch.  I grab the last pair of lines and start running right along the peas and butterhead lettuce, energized and grinning, while Michael's standing there feeding the line into the pathway behind me.  Ted approaches the end of field in his section, curving carefully around one of the metal milk crates that cover the irrigation outlets, paying close attention to not run over that it.  The wheels clear the crate and end up- just for a second- on top of the drip line that's in my hand as I sprint away.  My hand stops with the line and pulls me backward, completely caught by the surprise of hitting a brick wall in the middle of a field.  I flip around and awkwardly catch my fall on one of the beaming heads of lettuce, laughing and wondering what the hell happened.

It's a classic cartoon move!  I've been chuckling about it all afternoon.  It reminds me of that one time I was homesick and feeling culture-shocked and isolated and serious as a teenager living with a host family in Italy.  One evening I was carrying the ironing board from the living room back to its closet, and it hit the top of the doorway I was passing through, whacked me snap dab in the forehead, and I laughed until I cried, that crazy American girl that doesn't speak Italian yet, muttering to herself in a foreign tongue between bouts of laughter. 

I don't know what it is.  Real-life slap-stick Three Stooges type of stuff.  It jolts me right out of my list-keeping, task-oriented head, and reminds me that this is all just a big joke, anyway.  It's fantastic.

On another note, this morning we hosted our last Farm to School field trip for Guy Lee Elementary third graders through the School Garden Project.  They planted Cal White potatoes, which are usually huge but came very small (and easy for little hands to tuck under ground) this year.  One girl caught on quickly and led the charge down the bed, plugging in spud after spud with enthusiasm.  Between kids unearthing bits of plastic and worms as they dug, she found a single clear marble.  She carried it with her as we left the field to wash hands and switch stations, showing her friends with a smile.  I wonder what she'll do with it.  And I wonder, if she keeps it like a treasure, what it will remind her about this warm cloudy morning when she visited a real farm and planted a whole bed of sprouted potatoes with her classmates, once she's my age and finds herself digging in the dirt.

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