You guys remember Update from the Farm series in this blog? If you have been following us for a while, you probably know the story of my parents’ farm in Khon Kaen Province, Thailand. In those posts, I wrote about what happened in our humble land with the pictures my parents sent to me. The series abruptly stopped when my dad passed away, and everyone, including our land, was in deep sorrow, grieving for him.
In years, my family abandoned the farm because we had lost inspiration and a great leader. The soil turned dry, the heat evaporated the water from our ponds, the stream became still, and every plants and trees gradually fell. My mom gave away our livestock because she couldn’t take care of them alone, and soon, our land became quiet.
When the boys and I went back to visit our farm, the drastic change scared me. I couldn’t recognize the land that looked so empty. I guess, in a way, this dynamic change had also affected my writing. I’d lost my inspirations, and I started to distract myself with superficial topics.
2 years ago, my mom fell off a tamarind tree and broke her spine. She went through a surgery and took months to recover. After she got back to her feet, Sadik and I asked her come to stay with us in India for a while.
During 6 months that she’s here, she enjoyed road tripping, tried new food, met new people, saw new places, and most importantly, she got to spend a lot of time with Yaseen. I saw how Yaseen slowly put the sparks back in her life, making her charge up with confidences and motivations. And then, she started to miss farming and the land that she never thought she would ever go back again.
It’s rice growing season in Thailand. The ribbons of green flutter in the winds. The ripple of freshness spread the cooling, earthy scent throughout the terrain. The fat stalks of rice stand in the water where small shrimps and big fish swim in it.
In one year, with a molded jacket to support her spine, she’s nourished the land back to life. We told her not do any hard work, but she said “a farmer is handicapped when she/he stops farming.”
You know when I was a kid, my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. “A teacher” was my answer. The teacher told me that it’s not a good-enough-dream, and I should aim to be a doctor. I studied toward medicines at first, but then I changed the field to economy. Life doesn’t always turn out as you’ve planned it. If you asked me again the same question, my honest answer would a farmer. I want to be a farmer. Sadik and I both dream of becoming farmers when our lives permit us at some point in the future.
(Sadik helps watering the plants when we go back to the farm.)
My mom, the farmers in Thailand and the hard working farmers here in India show us what it means to stand on both feet, to be confident and take control of your life, to be sustainable and to feed the community generously with your proud produce, to be close to nature and to have the luxury of a simple life.
(Thai Ritual of Asking the Land for Forgiveness)
As the land is now grateful for my mom’s commitment, the trees start yielding fruits and profits.
We have abundant this year, and the overflowing produce is sent to shops in the villages and the town.
Everyone knows about her triumph. The produce are sold everywhere.
Custard apples are in the season. Hundreds of fruits seem to shower the farm each night.
No pesticide, no fertilizer, and in this season, you don’t even need to water the plants.
The rain takes care of everything, filling our ponds again. Fish jump above the water surface cheerfully, and the land is alive again.
Bushels after bushels are being harvested, and I hear my mom laugh so much again.
(Marg Khow Mow, wild sour berries)
In a couple of months, rice will be harvested. The boys and I want to be there at the harvest, to see the success of this incredibly powerful woman who has healed our land.
(Bamboo shoot from the fences of the farm)
She is my inspiration and my role model. She shows me you can get back on track and do your best even if you have fallen deep in the ground. Scars will heal so dust yourself up and move on. I started to look at my old files and work on my stories, my novels and my blog posts, and I work with passion now with her stories motivating me. I believe my dedication will abundantly yield fruits and profits one day just like she’s shown me.
(My mom celebrates a village festival.)