Fold the Map, Mend the Gap

As I jump around Spotify trying to find new music for the Summer, I keep finding myself going back to the most recent Bon Iver album, “22, A Million”. When I first listened to it last September, I really didn’t like it. Justin Vernon’s beautiful vocals were hidden by funky experimental beats I couldn’t handle. Yet, now here I am playing songs like 29 #Strattford APTS every day. In this song there is a line that goes “fold the map and mend the gap”. In the song, I think the person is folding the map because they finally know their destination in a relationship. They can now put their memories behind them and focus on finding inner peace. I on the other hand have absolutely no idea where I am going. If I am going to figure this out though, I think I need to put the map away and mend some gaps first.

Participating in the Foodworks program has been an incredible experience and working on the farm was something I was interested in doing all year. I care deeply about living sustainably and see the importance of eating locally. Learning more about Vermont food systems and the Middlebury College food system has been very beneficial and connects well with my Environmental Studies minor. However, in reality it is likely that I will remember this Summer more for the fun adventures I had with friends than a revelation to become a farmer.

Instead, this Summer I am slowing down. I am finding what is truly important to me and learning how to work hard and connect with people. This is done by slowing down my thoughts to focus on specific tasks at the farm. Physically, I haven’t fully slowed down and often find myself walking ahead of others, but your mind can still slow down while quickly weeding or shoveling. We like to call it contemplative weeding.

The pressures of school and lacrosse are not present, but I still worry constantly about my resume and abroad. When I try to justify my internship to outsiders, I wish I could quickly capture how I am growing as a person. I am independent and improving people skills just as much as my farming knowledge. I am more confident in my leadership skills and ability to connect with different people with unique approaches. Being aware of my moods and needs has helped me get off the relentless merry go round of stress talk about jobs and resumes. Taking a class that addresses real world issues has made my learning feel more justified than ever. I am more connected with the town and do not feel the underlying judgement that I sometimes feel as a college student taking over the town. I am reconnecting with the side of myself that came out in nature camp and with cousins. These sides do not come out when you are more worried about who is watching and what you “should” be doing.

I know the Foodworks program is very helpful to me, but I also know I do not need to justify it for a resume. The intangibles I am grasping will help guide me when I reopen the map.





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