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The Mad Agriculture Journal

Published on

June 01, 2020

Written by

Clark Harshbarger

Photo by

Jeremy Bishop

A fogbow, who has ever heard of such a thing? And for that matter, who has ever seen such a thing? Well, as of today, I have. As the bird’s song pierced the silence, I marveled at what I saw. All around me, the red, yellow, auburn and orange hues were glazed over in a foggy morning haze. As the sun rose over the forest covered ridge to the east, it created a halo across the meadow that dared me to walk through. Not a halo as meant for an angel but one meant for this place in time, this moment. A place deemed worthy of such an honor. A place where agriculture is beautiful. A place that represents the opposite of the hatred and violence that exist in the world. In this world, peace can often elude us. So in this place, standing in front of a fogbow for the first time, I try to define, or should I say, find peace. 

Yet still, surrounded by all this life, I feel loneliness too, while grappling with the understanding of being part of something bigger than myself. When working with livestock, one is constantly surrounded by life, death, birth and decay and on a daily basis one is reminded of his or her place in this cycle. But do I truly accept my own mortality? Of course one does not have to be a farmer to find oneself challenged by this question. We are all asked to try and find peace and courage when loved ones become sick or dear relatives of generations before ours pass. In the midst of sadness, grief, and denial we eventually come to accept the sacred cycle that governs the life on our planet.

I stewed in this thought for an unmeasured amount of time. When right before my eyes exists an answer. A living yin yang of two 150 year old White Oak trees. One alive and one dead, as if a shadow had been cast as a permanent reflection. They’re together to remind all those who dare to look, at their own mortality. Sacred to me, is the ability to acknowledge this moment, knowing that it is precious and will not last. It soothes my aching feet and tired back. It relieves my worried mind and tortured spirit of any past grief I have experienced and the worry of future grief I will one day experience. It gives me the courage to walk through the fogbow. Back into a world that requires a daily grind of service and of sacrifice. Knowing that while I push myself I must continue to demonstrate compassion for all things. I have reason to exist. I have reason to carry on. And in this moment, looking through a fogbow, while surrounded by grasses, forbs, sedges, rushes, trees, shrubs, insects, fungi, arthropods, cows and yearling calves, with soil under foot, I have peace. 

Originally published in
Mad Agriculture Journal Issue 3


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