Tonight I stayed after hours at the farm. Eleven hours in, and I wan't ready to go home. Maybe I was fueled by the first ripe tomatoes eaten at lunch and the dreams of homemade jam in my cupboard. Perhaps it was something in the air, the weather changing from a soggy heat to impending thunderstorms. Whatever it was, I wasn't compelled to dash off the farm as soon as possible like usual. I wanted to pick some strawberries for myself before they disappear for a year. And I wanted to take some time to slow down and enjoy this place I usually spend the day rushing through.
Picking strawberries is grueling. They are low to the ground and delicate and must be checked individually for ripeness before they get plucked. Sneaking in bites of sun-warmed berries barely makes up for the backache that inevitably joins me a few yards into the first row. When I'm picking berries at work, I spend most of the time wishing it could just be over already.
But tonight I noticed something interesting. When I slowed down to appreciate the task, I was addicted. The several containers I optimistically brought with me filled to the brim, but I couldn't stop. Just a few more berries. A few more bird calls. A few more minutes of the magic hour right before dusk. For the most part farming isn't romantic. It's dirty, exhausting, low-paid, time-sucking, demanding, chaotic. But it is evenings like tonight when I wouldn't trade it for the world.
(And to top it off, Zach had Indian takeout waiting for me when I got home!)