It's been a whirlwind three months. In late August, I arrived at D Acres Organic Farm to begin an internship program. As I started out, I knew that my anticipatory excitement had been dead on, that I would be able to remain excited throughout my time here. With so much to learn and so many things going on as the Autumn harvest season approached, my head swam with new information and new methods and responsibilities to attend to. Each day brought a new interest, each day brought a new challenge.
And as I pack up my things this late November night, preparing to head southward for at least the duration of the winter, I reflect upon all the things I've gained from this experience. A few more notable aspects come to mind...
Firstly, I have a newfound appreciation for the virtues of silence, of solitary time. Miles out from real civilization, tucked in the woods on a hillside with a babbling stream below, I have the lack of interference necessary to really be with my thoughts. It sounds silly, but this very act has stirred a new appreciation in me of the act itself.
Working on a diversified farm was most certainly a novel experience for me. Learning to perform all my new duties while taking in still more information presented an initial challenge greater than expected. I expected to encounter challenges in adapting to daily life, and surely I did. Undoubtedly, this new type of multitasking has helped make me into a more focused and harder worker.
Living in community was also a novel experience. I've had all kinds of living situations: dorms, rented houses, apartments...and room/housemates every stripe. Certainly, responsibilities exist for each of those arrangements...but rarely are you sharing more than a roof and the occasional incidental meal. Here at D Acres, my "roommates" are also my co-workers. We eat almost every meal together. This extreme level of immersion and one-on-one contact was wonderful, and unlike any other experience. Your "roommates" see things in you which you cannot, and vice versa. This is unavoidable, spending most of every day working in close contact. Quickly, whether involved in farm-work or daily chores, I found myself thinking ahead to make positive my efforts wouldn't counteract or hinder the work of another. Living in community has forced me to learn new things about myself, in addition to becoming more objective and considerate of the feelings and needs of others, as well as the larger community.
Already I know that the things I got from this experience far outweigh the things I was required to give: I have a new set of skills, insights, and appreciations. And most importantly, I know surely that these things will continue to spiral out into my life and the larger world. As I prepare to hit the books for the winter, I doubt very seriously that my involvement with D Acres is "finished".