...as kin to stories.
1 | ON SEEDS
In September 2016, I shuffled everything from my Brooklyn apartment into a sloppy pile in the corner of my parents’ basement, and I got on a train to start a muddy pilgrimage around the country. For a year, I spent each month living and volunteering at a different small, organic farm.
I stayed at a hyper-sustainable vegan homestead in Arizona, where we washed our hair with kombucha and the counters with vinegar, and I slept in a slim closet that was purple with cold, and a diaper-free toddler was always peeing on the floor. I also stayed at a meat-focused, permaculture-oriented family farm in Tennessee, rooted in a religion I do not practice, where I regularly fed all the pigs and sheep and geese and chickens I did not eat. At a blueberry farm in Florida, I spent most days getting my hands stung by fire ants while weeding berry rows, and I argued with the handsome male owner that, yes, Trump’s newly-inaugurated presidency was going to cause real harm. I planted hundreds and hundreds of garlic cloves in Kentucky while my farm mentor talked about guns and prepping and how her town hates gay people, and I nearly burned down my cabin next to a huge aquaponics greenhouse in the kind of California desert where the flat, dry dust stretches for miles and miles. I slept under spiderwebs, I blistered my skin and scratched up my limbs with blackberry brambles, and I toppled more than a few full wheelbarrows of manure sideways.
It was magnificent. It was the best, juiciest story I ever lived — the greatest, boldest, truest thing I ever did for myself, or allowed myself to do, or allowed to be done to me, and for and around and with me. As much logistical maneuvering as my traveling required, most of it didn’t feel controlled or orchestrated. I was just doing my becoming, the way a seed splits open when planted in the right plot and sprouts the leaves it doesn’t have to try for, because they’re predestined in its DNA.