Admittedly, I joined the frenzied eclipse goers who jockeyed for the viewing rights along the path of totality in the heartland to soak in, for two minutes, a celestial phenomenon by way of 370th Rd., just northwest of Ravenna, NE.
While Rob poured over weather maps for points of cloudless skies along the way, I poured over our 1909 copy of Webster's New International Dictionary, wherein I mused over different iterations of the word eclipse and how the word itself relates to the growing season. Luminous discoveries and intentions prevailed.
For example, the old familiar definition, “The passing of a luminous body into the shadow of another body.” Eclipse is also a verb with metaphoric potency, “An obscuration; a temporary obliteration; as a temporary or permanent eclipse of one's powers”. Eclipse to obscure, darken or extinguish the beauty, luster, honor of; to sully, to cloud, to throw into the shade by surpassing. This will be obvious to many by witnessing the moon's shadow as it eclipses the sun. Broadening my scope on Miriam Webster's page, I discovered that eclipse is sandwiched, but not be overshadowed, between words such as eclat, to “splinter, explode, shine brilliantly” and eclogue, “ a type of poem in which shepards are introduced conversing with each other”. How fitting to have an eclat, a brilliant explosion, a splintering of shadow 'eclipsing' the beautific, life-giving source of our food energy, the sun, to precede an eclipse while eclogue brings closure to the phenomenon by way of beginning a poem. Maybe the shepherds discovered the poetic nature of eclipses while flocking to it's path of totality 99 or 999 years ago and stopped to poetically converse while the sheep mowed and munched landscapes from the Sierra to the Sahale.
Summer at the farm has brought it's fair share of eclipses and maybe even an eclat, eclogue or two. “The passing of a luminous body into the shadow of another.” Sun and moon. Fireflies and ghost lilies. Japanese beetles, white currants, and plums. All of these eclipsed our landscapes, illuminated the romance of dusk over our prairie (fireflies), renewed our sense of awe and even belief in magic or at least mystery (ghost lilies), surprised and surpassed our expectations (currants), and obliterated the leaf layers of a select few fruit and flower species (Japanese beetles).
Eclipse: An obscuration; a temporary obliteration; as a temporary or permanent eclipse of one's powers”. To obscure, darken or extinguish the beauty, luster, honor of; to sully to cloud to throw into the shade by surpassing.
Late July brought a few temporary obscurations, eclipsing our physical capacity and our individual power to deliver on our product commitments. Rob fractured his wrists, fruit ripened en masse while labor slowed, and between the two of us and the demands of CSA, fruit and flower markets, our capacity was temporarily eclipsed. Our bodies and minds were surpassed by the gratitude in our hearts for the outpouring of support from neighbors, CSA members, and farm friends and we formed a flock en masse in the orchard and CSA gardens for just in time harvesting of aronia, lisianthus, and beans.
The flowers surpassed the transportation capacity of truckie and our Hyndai for a few weddings. My psyche and emotional frenzy almost eclipsed their beauty and luster, if it weren't for the support of Ian and Laura's respective Subaru's to clear my sullied emotional state the day before delivering flowers to the bride to be.
All this is to say that our farm's resilience model—renewable energy, water catchments, diversity in plant life, multiple micro-enterprises to prop up cash flow, and an amazing social fabric and network of mutual support—was put to the test.
It makes me ponder the power of food forests and eclipses. Little did we know, that back in 2009 when we began to plant our dream of growing more fruit, building community, experimenting with edible plant guilds, hosting events, asking questions of farmers, neighbors, researchers, customers alike that the end results continue to yield a greater capacity than the sum of its parts. When we intentionally design our farm landscapes so as to grow more plants in both autonomous and mutually supportive niches across, space time, and function, we can leverage our own capacities as farmers, as humans humbly collaborating with the humusphere to seed intentions, growing possibilities for future generations. We continue to witness in subsequent years what possibilities and products grow, what plants and ideas just aren't meant to take root here as a result and above all what is sacred.
Driving back from the path of totality by way of Lincoln NE, I put the intention out to the miles of corn fields, olfactory musings of hog farms, and expansive prairie skyline to eclipse any signs of corrupted power, greed, hate, and hubris so we can make space for more kindness, joy, and beauty for all beings seen and unseen in this world so we might see both soil and humanity more clearly.
And may your intentions eclat the landscapes sparking eclogues heading into the harvest season. We hope you join us for the floral and fruit feasts to come.