The sun was hot on my shoulders and cheeks as I weeded the onion patch on the farm. The crickets and bugs and birds were chirping on this late afternoon during work program. The animals grazed nearby as I sat in the dirt and began pulling. Small piles of beautiful but damaged plant began to grow and expand as I pulled and tugged and then tossed my green handfuls. I loved sitting in the dirt, submerging my hands in the nourishing soil that sustains the onion’s growth. At the beginning, I found that I wasn’t successfully extracting the roots and the plant would often break off. After a few minutes, I realized I was pulling too firmly. I was putting too much stress on the plant rather than sinking into the root and gently pulling it out. After having this awareness, I was a weeding pro. This organic process and working with my hands was immensely therapeutic. Suddenly I found myself in a different state of mind. Everything felt simple and real. I forgot about all of the everyday tasks and distractions, like that history paper, writing to my family and friends at home, and studying for the PSATs. All that mattered was the present moment as I basked in the sun. I was a part of nature, grazing along with the sheep in the pasture. Before I knew it, it was 3:45, time to move on. I didn’t leave right away. I continued to weed as the basil pickers rolled in from their work program. “Aren’t you coming?” asked Mimi, the farm apprentice. “One second!” I said, as I gently tugged the final plant and placed it in the pile.
-Corey Thaxton, Portland, ME