“You can actually hear yourself think”

It was around 1 p.m. the sun hung high and its intensity could immediately be felt once exposed to its light. I sat in the back seat of the van. David was in the drivers seat and one of our new students; Josell, sat beside him. They spoke to one another as we drove. Josell had invited us to his family’s farm and I was a bit tired from training in the morning so I sat quietly in the back.

As we drove further and further from the city the open expanse of the country welcomed us in. Small farms and neighborhoods dotted the highway. As we turned onto a small dirt road going south I got an overwhelming sense of calm from the area. I rolled down my window and sat up in my seat so I could look out. The road was small and unpaved. Along it some people had made their homes. An irrigation ditch ran perpendicular to the road we maneuvered through. Groups of men and children sat together on its bank fishing. As we drove by they looked curiously into the van and smiled as we waved to them.

The sky was clear of all but a few low clouds and a soft breeze traveled elegantly through the air. The farm was made up of a few small and simple homes surrounded by large fields of land. They averaged about 2 crops every year. It was harvest time at Josells farm and it was his turn to help with the labour of the task. “Every year its the same, we all come together for the harvest. Even if its not my farm we come together and help with the work, and when it is my farm them come and help with our harvest. We always help each other out.”

Josell spoke these words not in order make a point or to share something about the culture, but as a matter of fact. For me, an American so conditioned toward isolation it seemed as if there was something to be said there; but the reality is there wasn’t. It simply is important to help one another, it is how we as a species have thrived for so long; and it is the only way we shall continue to do so. We sat around a small handmade metal table at the simple farm. The men that joined us listened as David spoke about the camp, and when they spoke we would listen intently to them.

As Josell gave us a tour of the surrounding land he brought us to the lot of land that belonged to his mother. “My mother always told me of the importance of the land, and she invested in it. She didn’t spend money on dresses or jewelry, for her the land was important that’s what she taught me.” Josell enjoyed the comforts of an easier life than most people, and that was a direct result of his mother’s investments. He lives in a beautiful home in Santa Rosa and has had the privilege of pursuing higher education. You couldn’t tell though, Josell is a courteous and humble individual whom it seems has taken to his mother’s sentiments very closely.

Every time I am in the country, I feel closer to myself than usual. The quiet environment is enough. Without the noise of the city, you can actually hear yourself think and you get this feeling that everything is going to be alright. As we drive back towards the city I stare out into the countryside remembering how important it is for us to cherish the beautiful world and people we’ve been privileged to exist on and with. Humanity has an unmatched ability to persevere, but it is a trait that exists through an accumulated effort; for it cannot be achieved alone.