On the Subject of Spring

Letters From a Young Farmer


Everybody gets the gist of spring. Things grow, rain falls, the green gets greener, life starts moving another direction. But there’s lots of more if you’re willing to open those eyes a bit.

A doula friend of mine once told me that death among older people reaches its peak this season. Another year on this earth? No thank you, they say and pass on. It takes energy for things to grow. All the work, that pollen, that makes us sneeze and Itch.

This weekend, after hours of rainfall in Christos Valley, Will went out into the garden of éla. Surrounded by wild radishes, blue pimpernels, buttercups and the big leafy mallow, he listened to the sound of thousands of honey bees buzzing, hard at work, pollinating their way through a Saturday afternoon.

Several hives found the wild flowers, he texted me. He could hear them from metres away, they were enchanting and everywhere. I asked him to take a video. It’s impossible to capture this sound, he replied. The feeling is everything.

Just for you, he texted, a few minutes later with a video. I laughed when I saw, because he was right. Nothing can really capture the ephemeral nature of spring, of growth moving, of listening to that ever-present sound of honey bees hard at work.

As some of you may know, I’m a New Yorker born and raised. For most of my life, I was afraid of silence and black flies. I understood the ecology of social classes but I couldn’t tell you how soil worked. After nearly three years living in Greece, and mostly on our little farm in Patmos, I’m just starting to figure it all out. And it doesn’t come from reading books + pdfs on earth studies. It comes from just being out here, walking around, digging my hands in places I thought they ought never be and getting my fingernails dirty. I was never a prissy princess but my skin is definitely a hell of a lot thicker.

In my days in the garden last week, stalking the bees buzzing, I’ve discovered lovely little stories I’d like to share with our community. I’m turning over stones and finding a new wellspring of plants + wildflowers I’ve never even heard of. 

So in celebration of the spring equinox, for the next few weeks, I’ll be digging deep into the soil and unearthing the funny and brilliant world of plants, both near and far. 

To spring!