5:50am. Headlamps on, we are underneath the toilet and shower block. The compost crapper is full and needs changing – now. “I started my time on the farm doing this and am now ending it the same way” Lisa says as she provides expert direction to Charl and I.
There in the dark, poetic symmetry.
Much has changed since we first arrived that early January afternoon. My boots are now well worn and hands calloused. I’ve cinched in my belt. I am comfortable around large animals, and can kill and skin a rabbit. I know the biological difference between cow and horse manure. I understand the optimal carbon-nitrogen ratio for compost. I’ve been pleased to learn that trying, failing, and trying again is part of a farmer’s everyday.
I’ve spent much of the last three months a fair distance from my normal zone of comfort. Most days I’ve been deeply challenged to pay attention to how I live and the consequences of my seemingly insignificant actions.
Now we are just a few hours from packing up and saying goodbyes. We’ll pull out of the drive for the last time enlightened and jaded, inspired and disillusioned, educated and ignorant, tired and energized.
After changing the tanks, Lisa and I walked back through the long, wet grass to our van for our ritual morning coffee before the day begins. Had to smile thinking of the long, strange trip it’s been. We’re the same as before, only different.
This is my last dispatch. Thank you for reading. I welcome thoughts, ideas, comments, and questions. firstname.lastname@example.org