America is a collection of untethered individuals. My generational peers have worked diligently to shake off constricting labels and expectations, choosing to opt out of careers with traditional job ladders, to eschew the religions in which they were raised, to move across countries or across continents in search of like-minded communities. We’re often spiritual instead of religious. We think of our careers in terms of goals, abilities, and satisfaction instead of hierarchies and label plates. We define our homes by the communities in which we live rather than the places we were born. This flexibility extends to family values and composition: we’ve exchanged nuclear family expectations for values that promote hopeful tolerance, active participation in a global culture, and the freedom to be whomever we want to be.
After much conversation and anticipation, “Hell Week” had finally arrived for Zenger Farm interns Brad, Brittany, and Aaron. Hell Week is designed to more closely mimic a realistic farming experience for the interns: instead of their normal eight hour days, they work eleven hours, side by side with farmers Sara Cogan and Bryan Allan. Ironically, after weeks of truly hellish temperatures that have left area farmers exhausted and demoralized, the weather abated in time for this intense week, bringing clouds and autumnal mornings.
I know that my garden is a living, breathing entity, a “creature” that will blossom, thrive (or not), and eventually die. And because of this fact, I’ve begun to think of my garden as a member of my family. I felt inklings of this when my husband and I went abroad last year and I worried about missing the zinnia blooms. But, in retrospect, that was casual worry, easily tossed aside after a moment, or a sip of wine.