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November 6, 2008

Megan Emberton ’12

Look who I found.

Squiggly and slimy, reveling in his patch of dirt. I wouldn't have disturbed him, only I was busy in the OSCA garden, and he was in my way. I took it upon myself to relocate him. Obviously, I couldn't save all the worms that may have been introduced to the nastier ends of my gardening implements, but this earthworm was big and squirming at the ground's surface. I couldn't just leave him with the hope that I wasn't about to squash him irreparably. That would have been too gruesome.

I know that my many years of avoiding garden work at home would suggest otherwise, but I love biking out to the George Jones Farm to work on OSCA's small plot of land. I was there by myself on Thursday afternoon, working to get the garden ready for winter. On Tuesday, someone had pulled up all the summer plants. I cleared out the remaining plant debris and put it on the compost pile, then raked the soil, evening out the land and getting rid of the raised rows. Since I was on my own and needed to bike back to campus before dusk, I had to stop there. There's still work to be done - a layer of compost needs to go over the garden, and then some mulch. I'm not sure if we have cover crop plans, and I'm not sure what the deal is with our fall crops (do they or did they ever exist?). From what I hear of previous OSCA garden experiences, though, this year has been better organized than in the past. But we're still learning, and I'm looking forward to the spring season.

Maybe one reason I like my gardening time so much is because there is something so very essential being outside. This is by no means a novel concept, but I'm ashamed to say that in the last couple weeks, I forgot it. I buried myself in studying and stress and stuffy practice rooms, and didn't manage to take a real pause for thought or a proper breath of fresh air until Thursday. Sometimes, it's too easy to forget to be. We lose ourselves in things to do and places to be. And it's never been easier for me to do now that I'm in college. Oberlin is SO FULL of opportunities - too many! All too wonderful! I can't possibly do everything, and I must restrain myself and not think too long or hard about opportunities missed. I tell myself there will be others. I'm not even remotely close to being the busiest person I know here, yet I can still find myself feeling hopelessly swamped. That's how life had been since coming back from fall break. Swampy. I'd been schlepping from day to day as though my week lay before me like a sludgy bog. An academic quagmire, if you will.

It's easy to get carried away with all the deadlines, assignments, meetings, recitals, lessons that clutter up the pages of my planner. And those are important - this is school, after all - but sometimes, our life is frittered away by detail (thank you, Thoreau). Hours in the open, getting my hands dirty, taking in the beautiful late afternoon autumn light... It was just what I needed.

Responses to this Entry

This is your cousin Lauren, from sunny ol' California. We should talk more because we happen to have a LOT in common. I started a garden at my high school and I'm totally into local agriculture and "food policy." Have you read Micheal Pollan, Bill McKibben, Wendell Barry or Barbara Kingsolver? My best friend is going to Oberlin and he's excited to meet you! (and he's into local, organic gardening also).

Posted by: Lauren Cockrell on January 4, 2009 10:13 PM

Hi Lauren! Haven't seen you or talked to you in ages, I know. It's awesome you started a garden at your high school. I will have to ask you more about it sometime. I am currently reading Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," and also some Wendell Berry (one of his novels). What's REALLY cool, though? Michael Pollan came to give a talk here at Oberlin in October. He was a great speaker and had many inspiring & hopeful things to say. If your friend ever comes for a visit before he starts in the fall, let me know! I'd love to say hi and show him around a bit.

Posted by: Megan Emberton '12 on January 7, 2009 10:26 PM

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