19 Jul Laura: Community Makes the Journey Better
Morgan County, Colorado: Disclaimer – If you are here for crop stats, skip this post. If you are interested in reading the “life musings” of Laura, continue!
I recently had the opportunity to add to my “community” this spring. Last fall, Tracy Zeorian reached out with the idea for a retreat for women involved in harvesting. I don’t know what it was, but something inside just told me I NEEDED to be there. However, I didn’t know how I was going to make it happen.
The event was scheduled for early April. I knew Ryan would be ramping up harvest plans and we would have crew coming in. With two little children, it is hard to slip away from the responsibilities at home that are never ending. I was also teaching as an adjunct online for the local college, local committees, paperwork for the business is always waiting, and we were just coming out of a trying winter with family/friend illness and deaths. And I was tired from life! Yes, it would be hard to add one more thing to the plate.
But isn’t that how it is? We can ALWAYS find one more thing to do, one more excuse not to go. Of course, some of those excuses and reasons are completely legit. Especially for us in agriculture where our time isn’t our own. Things are pressing. One more fence to mend, cow to vaccinate, crop to plant, harvest, paperwork to submit and the list goes on and on – and that’s just for the farm! Before we know it, years pass, and we remain tied to our responsibilities. We often neglect ourselves, our families, and friends in the process and forget the important, and lifegiving skill of making memories and growing with those who matter most. I can’t speak for everyone, of course, only me, but too often I find myself taking life too seriously. It is something I’m aware of and have been intentionally working on the last few years.
On this occasion, on the last day before registrations went from just HarvestHers to the ag community in general, I took the leap, paid my deposit and figured out a way to make it happen. I even talked a good girlfriend from college, also in the ag world, to go along. We made the trek to Omaha together both excited but unsure of what the weekend would hold since we had never met any of the ladies in person.
I quickly learned why I “needed” to be there. I needed to be a part of the community of harvest women. We’re a unique breed and few can understand the joys and struggles unless you’ve lived it. This isn’t unusual. I couldn’t claim to know what it’s like to be a surgeon, soldier, etc., because I haven’t done those things. I was used to having community in my former career paths, and have a stellar group of family, friends, and moms who walk the journey with me, but to be “understood” by a group in my current occupation was a game changer. It felt so good to be able to laugh, exchange ideas, grow, and learn from this unique group of individuals, of all ages, experiences, and even different countries.
I keep reading articles in High Plains Journal and even seeing fliers along the harvest trail about the near record suicide rates and opioid use among those of us in the ag community. Even the strongest of people can get worn down by the constant stresses of life. This is one reason we need community. To care for, show genuine compassion to, and support those around us. Everyday. Not just when it gets to the breaking point. No, I don’t believe community can solve every problem. I know those, and other issues are much, much more complex than a quick fix and sometimes we don’t even know someone is suffering despite having a close relationship. What I am saying is, being involved in a community of supportive individuals, whether locally or afar, can often make the journey through life just a little brighter.
As a person of faith, I think there is a constant battle of Light and Dark. The devil does his best work with me when I’m worn, tired, and isolated. He wants to pick me off from the fold when I’m feeling down. That’s why it is so important to have your people. I don’t think we were created to walk this journey alone. My transition to full time harvest hasn’t always been and still isn’t easy. I’m happy to share my story if it could offer encouragement to someone else, but you’d have to ask me in person since it would take too long to explain properly here.
Thanks to all my family and friends, past and present, who continually show up for me. You are so appreciated even if I don’t say it like I should. Thanks to the HarvestHers who have made the journey a little sweeter this season and to Tracy for her vision. If you are a lady in the harvest world who seeks camaraderie, consider the HarvestHer community. We don’t have to do this alone.
Families also benefit from the community of HarvestHers! Through the network, I was able to meet Kylee of DeBock Harvesting on the trail this summer. Our kids enjoyed playing with someone other than their sibling, and we enjoyed adult conversation! Photo credit: Laura
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.