Beauty is its Own Reward

This charm is wasted on the earth and sky, Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing, then beauty is its own excuse for Being.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – excerpt from The Rhodora

“Is all this work on the farm worth the effort?” Jackson asked me over the weekend.

I think he saw the struggle we go through each day. The laundry list of chores that begin as soon as we’re up. The chores that, some days, run well into the evening. He sees the work we put into coaching this farm from the soil. He sees us both come home from work off the farm and nearly always launch ourselves into work on the farm. And he probably often feels some disappointment when we cannot always just up and leave the work to pursue something more fun in his eyes.

Even with his asking though, I don’t believe his query was directed at not liking the farm or the work. Rather, I think he asked a worthy question. He was sincere in his wanting to know.

Is it worth it?

There are so many ways to answer that question. I’d like to say that I hit my answer out of the park. That I simply and succinctly explained the tremendous value that we see in what we do. And, that, “Yes. It is worth it.”

But that didn’t happen. I was hot, sweaty, and tired. No, more like I was exhausted. Instead of stirring words of wisdom that inspired Jack, I mumbled something along the lines of…. “Well, we shall see.”

I’m not good on my feet when I’m tired. I’ll admit it. I flat out flubbed that one. My answer fell short of all the inspirational potential that such a moment begs to offer.

But, if I may be allowed to redeem myself, I’d want to start with, “Yes. If for nothing else, for the sake of beauty.”

For all of our work we are constantly rewarded with beauty here on the homestead. And beauty, for beauty’s sake alone, is its own reward.

For over 165 feet along our lane, a variety of sunflowers and zinnias paint the approach to our homestead with a palette of the most beautiful colors imaginable. They stand, coached and nurtured from our soil, brilliant all along our southern field. A gorgeous and welcoming sight so worthy of our efforts.

There is beauty in all of the animals under our care. Beauty in the appearance of the animals themselves, but also in the relationships and bonds we’ve fostered with them here on the farm. No matter their purpose – be they chickens, turkeys, goats, or dogs – they’re loved. There is beauty in our interaction. Beauty in the bonds between us all.

There is beauty in the garden. Beauty in the bright, red color of a Taylor Horticultural Cranberry Green Bean bloom. Beauty in the dark, nearly black, skin of a Queen of the Night Tomato. Beauty in the contrasting reds and greens of both Swiss Chard and Malabar Spinach. And beauty in the fine, silvery-red silk tassels of Silver Queen Sweet Corn.

Even the weeds, like the Pokeweed which grows abundantly amidst the rows of corn, has a beauty in the arrangement of its tiny flowers.

In fact, everyday from the first moments of a foggy sunrise to the last hints of light from the setting sun there is beauty to behold here on our little farm. Beauty that greets you both coming and going. Beauty in every direction in which you choose to look.

So yes, dear Jackson. Yes. All the effort is worth it. For beauty in itself is its own reward. And beauty surrounds our homestead in abundance.

Last Blooms of the Pink Hollyhocks.

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