Not all the work at the farm is as bucolic and picturesque as doing a head count of newborn calves or spending an afternoon harvesting vegetables for the weekly market. Sometimes farm work consists simply of four pails, a large field, and rocks to clear. This last week we went out and did just that on several different occasions.
At first I was hesitant to jump into this task as it invoked much less enthusiasm than certain other jobs I have had the chance to do. However, on the first day the sun was out in full force and I figured it would be a good time to get outside and enjoy the increasingly nice weather. So with a pail in each hand I set out along the edges of the field where Fañch suggested I start.
It was not long before the tediousness and repetitive motions grew tiresome. I decided to turn some music on using the selection on hand with my phone and that helped to liven the mood.
Emptying a field of cumbersome rocks does not demand much focus or concentration. It is a task that allows the mind to wander much further than the confines of the field.As bucket after bucket was filled and emptied of stones of all sizes I thought a lot about the work I do today compared to what I used to do or what I might have imagined for myself at different points in my life.
At one point Fañch and I took a break to compare the “treasures” we had found half buried in the soil or camouflaged with the rocks. His plastic toy car was much more interesting than my shard of an old plate. Having pocketed our treasure again Fañch asked if would have ever imagined being in the middle of a field in France piling up stones along the perimeter of a soon-to-be pasture.
While this scenario had never factored into my list of potential life plans I could not ask for a better final outcome. As I continued to work my way across the field with the sun working to maintain a perfect spring temperature, I kept thinking how grateful I was to be in that spot at that moment. One of the first great spring days and I could have spent it cooped up in an over air-conditioned office somewhere. I could have in some stuffy library study room with a stack of books piled high stressing over an exam. Now, not that those places don’t have plenty of positive aspects to them, but I just couldn’t imagine myself being anywhere else than here.