Every summer during my annual pilgrimage to the Sequim Lavender Festival, I fantasize about buying a lavender farm. For the money, I could get a place twice the size of my citified house, a chicken coop AND acreage. I would be in the middle of nowhere, but still.
I admire people with sturdy, toned bodies and calloused hands who grow and harvest raw goods for handy products like the decadent lavender and rose salve I bought last weekend.
With a wide, goofy smile, the first thing I do after the ferry ride and hour drive to Sequim is shuck my shoes, side-step bees, and pluck a take-home bouquet from the U-pick fields. That alone seems worth the long journey because although marijuana is legal now in Washington, I think of lavender as the official happy plant, and it smells better too. Within minutes, my shoulders are back where they should be.
The sunshine, lavender-perfumed fresh air and wide open fields take me back to a simpler time. A time when life was slower and places weren’t all crammed together. A time when you literally had to put your back into it. There’s something so basic and true about spending my body that I wonder if I’m losing touch with it after years of sitting at a desk in an office with no windows and no earth under my feet. I wonder if I’m missing something important abstract-thinking for a living instead of working the land and letting my muscles tell me when I’ve put in a full day.
At the lavender farms on tour, I don’t do much actual physical labor other than collecting a bunch of lavender—the stooping, grabbing, snipping and pitching into a basket—but I spy farm workers hauling stuff to and fro in wheelbarrows and appreciate the gazillion hours it must have taken to cultivate those mind-blowing rows of deep purple flowers.
Except for a year on my Uncle Frank’s dairy farm and the summer of my sixteenth year picking up litter off the highway shoulders for minimum wage, I’ve always had office jobs, always lived in the city, so I don’t know fiddly about farming. But somehow I think that rather than comfortably paying the mortgage, taxes, staff and fattening retirement accounts it is more a labor of love.
Mom was born on a farm in Lincoln, Nebraska, but I doubt I’m built for hard labor (unless you count housework) and I only wear overalls when painting (so next to never). Plus, if I lived on a farm I’d miss the city. But because I’m in the city, I daydream about farms. It will probably always be this way. Me occasionally running off to farm country for restorative “time-outs” that I deeply enjoy. Me running back to the city for work, ethnic food, concerts, spa time and reliable Internet.
Still love the farm-girl fantasies though. They nudge me to buck sitting at a desk all day staring at a computer screen. To have face-time with co-workers instead of emails and race-walk around the block when I’m feeling sluggish from breathing recycled air. To grow herbs on my deck and do Saturday farmer’s markets. To leave my windows open at night and run around parks with little friends.
As it should be.
To happy places,