Tess Tomlinson, who's entering her third season with BAG, reflects on why she's drawn to the work.
-On one of my first truck trips to Appleton farm in Ipswich, MA, after loading from their wash station dock behind their beautiful barn on their beautiful, preserved land, I steered us - Patsy the truck, Leah our OPS leader, and the twenty or so banana boxed vegetables - back towards 128. As I slowed the truck nearing the first of a few crowded intersections, a small bird smacked into the windshield and as the momentum of the truck slowed, it simply sank into the wiper shelf and I did nothing productive and logical Leah said, just turn on the wipers.
I can recall that intersection clearly and shudder each time I pass through it now and so when I thought, I’ll write about the intersection, in gleaning, of all my interests, unfortunately for sensitive readers, this was the story that came to mind.
I do think reactivity is the logical point to glean from this story and the one that does in fact tie what our team and volunteers do when driving, planning, harvesting, deciding not to harvest, sorting, etc, to yoga, wedding planning, restaurant managing, etc.
In all that I’ve found interesting over the years has been a need for efficient decisions, trust, and micro adjustments to the mind and body in order to cope with and surpass blockages, bangs and fatigue. And those are just the adjustments needed to be cool in the midst of turmoil; there is tempering needed too when faced with elation and the desire to hold onto good feelings forever.
Impressive are those who led me on my first gleans and who have joined the team since who can look at a situation and decide what’s optimal in that moment for all involved. It is a huge challenge and we don’t always get it right because we are humans, which is why good-natured, friendly, eager, volunteers play such a crucial role.
I skimmed recent blog posts and recalled faces from summer corn and fall apples and winter apples, and feel so grateful that as we the staff are called on to react, we are surrounded in many cases by hyper-intelligent, loyal, brave and all around brightly lit others who embolden and challenge us, always with kindness.
That’s the true intersection of gleaning with any other interest I’ve ever had - where kindness allows for an atmosphere in which I’m comfortable constantly learning and circumstance makes a beginner of me at every moment.-
By Tess Tomlinson
Boston Area Gleaners
91 Martin Street
Acton, MA 01720