Saturday, February 13, 2010

On Serendipity: A Retrospective

I believe in America’s agricultural revival. I’m 23 years old, the product of a small liberal arts college and a bustling, cosmopolitan graduate school, and I’m comparison shopping for work boots and overalls in preparation for my first day as a farmer. I’ll be honest; I don’t entirely know what I’m getting into. I grew up in the city, have never grown so much as a tomato. Call me crazy, but I actually believe that I can do this.
Thus I began this blog, almost two years ago. Not many people actually read those words, however, as I only shared the address with my best friend and only then after oaths of strictest secrecy. For all of my posture of speaking from a soapbox, I was really writing to myself. I wanted to flex my writing muscles, which had finally recovered from the over-exertion of college and grad school. I wanted to remind myself why I had put development work on hold and moved to a farm. Spring was rising in me like sap, and I needed some forum to record my own greening.

At first, I was nervous to let my words loose in the world--what if I offended someone? What if my writing sucked? What if, someday, a stranger showed up on my doorstep professing psychic kinship and asking to stay for dinner? Still, that inevitable writerly urge stirred in me to find an audience. When Paige offered to link to this blog from the farm's website, the temptation proved too much to resist. My first comments thrilled me (they all still do), so when another greenhorn future-farmer from California complimented my blog and asked me for more information about Serenbe, I was happy to oblige.

Ok, so I did think he sounded a little bit over-eager, claiming "we-have-a-lot-in-common". Blogs are like one-way mirrors in that way--but after a few wary emails I became convinced that he was neither a serial killer nor a weirdo. He was planning to WOOFF his way around the US, volunteering on diverse farms in diverse regions in an attempt to discern his own niche within the broad discipline of agriculture. He hoped to come work at Serenbe for a month, before moving on to Florida and then along the Gulf coast. He liked rhubarb and vegetabling off, sure signs that he had at least a modicum of good taste. Paige figured we could use the extra hands in October, and she and Jack were having a very good time calling this person my "online boyfriend," so she hired him.

With that settled, we all moved on with our summers. The teasing settled down (or, to be more accurate, was directed toward other fronts), and I went on several bad blind dates. At the end of September on an early Sunday, I pulled up to the Greyhound bus station in Atlanta to pick up our new farmer. He was a study in reticence, pausing before any reply, thoughtful in the face of my exuberant stream-of-consciousness dialogue. I thought he seemed nice enough, though much quieter than I had expected.

Fast forward to Friday of last week. In the middle of a snowy meadow with a ring he had carved from a Hershey's kiss, Andrew proposed. Best Valentines Day ever? You betcha.

I found out, much after the fact, that he had chosen Serenbe as much for my words as for the farm. As he claims, "I just wanted to meet the girl with the blog." I am grateful that I was not made aware of this fact any earlier, however, as I would have doubtless done everything in power to sabotage his application, had I known his true motivations. In retrospect, I cannot think of a better way to meet your best friend and the person you most love in the world than this: first through the medium of your thoughts best-said, then through toil, working side-by side, and finally in the kitchen: chopping onions, debating politics, washing the dinner dishes before dessert.

Thank you everyone for reading. And most especially Andrew, thank you.


Anonymous said...

Ooh. That's so romantic.. why I didn't meet a handsome organic farmer when I went WWOOFing back in the day? Amazing story!

Paige said...

Holy crap!! Lovely! Blessings to you both. and CONGRATS!

Alexandra said...

Ok, seriously, just cried... at work. I love you. And both of you together. So happy for you!

Betsy said...

Congratulations! Lars told me, but it's so much more awesome to read the whole story. Wahoo! (And I second the tears at work comment...) Oh, and I was going to comment before, and didn't, but since I'm four sentences in to a way-too-long comment anyway, I love your writing. I keep your blog in my google reader thingy, and it's the first one I glance at every morning to see if you've posted something new. And now back to the important stuff: congratulations again!

LP said...

Great story! But you should have known he wanted to meet the girl with the blog. Support from June 21, 2008: "I hope you have a good experience with the chickens you wrote about in this post. I'd love to read your reflections on their lives and their deaths when the time comes."