There is a saying in the Talmud that every blade of grass has its angel which leans over it and says “Grow! Grow!” It is exhilarating to be that angel.
My family and I are starting a small farming business, and the planet has gotten much bigger and a lot more interesting. We have conversations about good dirt and watch Youtube videos on how to shear sheep.
I never had such a visceral sense of all the plant life being around me being alive – as actual living beings – until this spring. Somehow I never noticed that I was surrounded by aliveness, even though this area is like a jungle in the summer.
A goat smiled at me (they do, you know), and it opened my eyes. To use a metaphor that feels like an archaic expression from a dead language, I awakened immersed in a live green world which previously I had scanned but never downloaded.
I guess I’ve been doing this all along, because art-making is a lot like farming; they both involve growing things. It’s just that the materials are different. In fact, I think I had been farming art for so long that I had lost some of the excitement of creation. I had forgotten how cool it is to make new forms out of raw materials.
Farming is more custodial, though. While all art projects have a life of their own (and some of them are bloody willful pigheaded little brats), there’s not quite the same sense of responsibility for new life. That’s a different feeling altogether.
Watch this space.