I spent last weekend at Ima’s farm, a welcome respite from
the city and work. I’d been having a hard time getting back into my routine
headspace after returning from my wonderful trip to California (adult summer
camp, as I described it to my friend and teacher Ben), and the idea of going
deep into the somewhat familiar Midwestern woods and walking, singing, writing
alone – seemed just what the doctor ordered.
Ima was hosting the first-year herb students’ inaugural trip to her
But we third-year kids know our joe pye from our boneset, our blackberry from our red raspberry – so I figured we could goof off all weekend and maybe get away with a little light weeding.
Star Farmer and I arrived to find the campground full. (Herb students and massage students on the same weekend? We hadn’t had such a big group in years!) We went up to a spot we used to pitch our tents last year and found the mosquitoes hungry. Even worse – my barely used tent, a lone exhibit of rare evidence that I do sometimes make astonishingly poor investments, would not go up. (It is supported by inflatable rods. To inflate it I must labor away at a foot pump made in China. It is only good in theory. Like some kind of fickle performing animal, it only sets up for my husband. It is ridiculous. It is useless. Verily I say to thee, stick to traditional pole tents.)
In a show of solidarity (and maybe because he, too, had had enough of the mosquitoes), Star set his sleeping quarters up along with mine in the big upper room of Avalon Hall, an all-purpose building at the front of Ima’s land.
Ah, but what disappointment can’t be cured by good food and good spirits? We went out for dinner, anticipating the glorious tangy, mahogany, crispy-skinned duck at a restaurant in the nearest town, overpriced and ambitious in its culinary endeavors but boasting the most decent wine list for miles.
No duck. They didn’t even have the wine we enjoyed so much last time.
The next morning my irrepressible Ima showed up as I waited for a campstove frittata to set, and for my headache to go away. By now we had a small cadre of exactly five third-year students.
“Great, you guys can help me plant while I show the new students around!” Ima chirped, looking beautiful, sparkling, even. Apparently there were some several hundred seedlings waiting to go into the ground.“You can be in charge of the planting,” she said to me.