How I Found the Meaning of Life, Alone, in a Strawberry Patch

| 7/31/2012 11:29:55 AM

Many people spend their whole life in search of meaning and substance. They want answers to the big questions like, “Is this all there is?” and “What’s it all about?” and “Is this what I’m destined to do?” Some people try and achieve it through meditation. Some use religion. Some hope people like Oprah will shed some light and others try and make their own reality.

When I was living in suburbia I belonged to a badminton club. One of the other players, Brian, was quite a bit younger than me and was always a formidable opponent.  One day his secretary found him with his head down on his desk at work and a few days later he succumbed to a brain aneurism. Another friend of ours died of cancer and then one of Michelle’s cousins was killed instantly in a car crash. We had been thinking about moving to the woods for some time, but these events really put life into perspective and gave us a huge kick in the butt to get out of dodge and start living where and how we wanted. They also impacted my quest to find meaning and relevance in my life.

Then in the last few years Michelle had her brush with cancer and my childhood friend Teddy King died. This really ramped up my quest. There was a new urgency.

Part of the result of my search for meaning was our decision this summer to run a CSA. We knew we could not make much money selling our vegetables, but that wasn’t what the decision was based on. It was based on doing something of relevance. Something that mattered. Something that was in keeping with our personal belief in the need for radical relocalization. From my perspective it was a great opportunity to figure out just how much food I could produce from the acre of land that is currently under cultivation.

So began Sunflower Farm CSA. And now each week we prepare 12 boxes of healthy organic food for our members. A humble beginning, but pretty great none-the-less.

The work involved is mind-boggling. You know those people you hear about, the ones who run a marathon every day for months. Well, it turns out that running a CSA is just like that. Every day there is an infinite amount of work and a finite number of hours. So I go from dawn to dusk and that makes for a long day. I always account for part of my elevated mental state to exhaustion. But it’s a good exhaustion. It’s not like the stress from that catalog that was printed with the wrong part number; it’s just good old-fashioned “worked too hard” exhaustion.

Brandon Kohn
8/7/2012 7:53:15 PM

You're right.

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