It’s raining. They were threatening a torrential downpour on the Bulletin this morning, but they are so frequent that I am used to them now. I can hear the rain all around me, but all I feel is a fine mist and a deep sense of calm. The afternoon shower is my favourite time to come down to the farm for my shifts. I breathe in deeply. The smell of wet soil lingers in my nostrils. It’s so quiet – human quiet, I mean. The sounds of nature are thrilling. I remember first noticing and enjoying this feeling in the summer of 2020 as a pandemic swept across the world. Everything slowed down, everyone’s lives got smaller – including my own – and local wildlife and the weather were given more space and more decibels. It took some time, but when I finally started paying attention, I began to tell the difference between the call of a jackdaw and a chiffchaff; my senses saw beyond my sight. Now I can discern their message in their song, a call and response or an alarm. The blackbird’s tune is still my favourite all these years later.
Winding between tall rows of corn protecting crops of cucumber, I know I need to focus on collecting the beans. They are in their prime and the demand will be high. If I collect enough it will mean a trip to the regional Trade Exchange. That’ll be my opportunity to see her, face to face. Bethan’s there every week, I’ll be able to explain why I haven’t been around. She won’t be able to ignore my messages any more. I can tell her the back story, what I – we – went through to make the decision, share the nuance with her right next to me. I knew I shouldn’t have told her I was pregnant over text.
J thinks I’m overreacting, said it’s my hormones playing up. Well, that just riled me up even more. As the clouds darkened along with my mood, I knew I needed to get out of the house and get some fresh air. My body had me putting my boots on and out the door before my mind caught up. Sometimes I really need to be on my own, although… I suppose I’m not really on my own any more.
I sense a shift on my skin and look up; the rainclouds are clearing. My basket is full. Where did the time go? The exertion has lifted my spirits, so I push on up the hill. It feels good to use my muscles, push the balls of my feet into the ground and feel my thighs fire up. I could do this hike with my eyes closed, I know it so well, but the view never fails to surprise me. Row upon row of mighty walnut trees protecting lines of wheat – it’s nothing short of majestic. I push my palm into the nearest trunk as I catch my breath. I try to imprint it all, to capture it in my mind’s eye. Wide open spaces fuel my soul. There is new life in me and there is abundance everywhere I look.
Bethan will understand.
I am so glad I held on to hope.
Sophia Cheng With a decade of communications experience across the for profit and nonprofit sectors, agency and in-house, Sophia has made a habit of making ‘the hard stuff’ more accessible. Since 2018, she has reorientated her life around the climate crisis. She has forged her decade of communications experience into offering workshops, mentoring, blogging, and more, on the biggest issues of our time. View all posts