Two years ago, I was a media producer for a large health care organization in Southern California. I spent my weekends taking “Yoga Booty Ballet” and worshipping the sun. I was young and the world was my oyster. Life was fun and fabulous.
Somehow, after the “happy baby” poses in my West Hollywood yoga classes, I got married and had my own happy baby.
Today, I reside on Route 62, where rows of greenhouses line up next to fields of vegetables. Big green tractors drive on the roads and barn stars decorate the exterior of homes.
This is the country; this is home to my husband, the triple-crowned Corn King – a title bestowed to the farmer having the best tasting corn at the annual Eden Corn Festival. (True, last year another farmer earned this title, but to me, once a corn king, always a corn king.)
This town is small, very conservative and often sheltered. Charming and personable too, but I’m reminded of the sheltered part every time someone calls my daughter a “China Doll” and believes it’s a compliment.
I’m a zebra in the cornfields. And for countless months, my forehead was creased with lines of turmoil over what had become of my mid-20s. Oprah once coined it, “the quarter-life crisis.”
My crisis came with a side of corn. After a year of resisting this unfamiliar, uncomfortable environment, I cracked a smile. I’ve never stopped wishing for palm trees outside my window, but I’ve found the sparkle in this small town …
My husband is a fifth-generation farmer and we owned a miniature pig. You could say we are your modern day cast of “Green Acres,” but I prefer to channel the Food Network’s “Pioneer Woman.”
This is a year-round operation: A sea of 35,000 poinsettias glisten for the holidays, Easter lilies bloom for spring, and over 300 acres of vegetables are harvested during the summer and fall.
During the warm months, the alarm goes off at 4:45 a.m. The Corn King manages 40 seasonal employees and gets his own hands dirty – fixing equipment, checking on fields and even helps to pack boxes of vegetables. Somehow he still manages to run meetings and maintain his office duties as vice president.
On bright and beautiful days, tractors turn over soil in front of the house as a crew picks vegetables in the back.
By 6:30 p.m., the Corn King is ready to collapse. His daughter eagerly awaits her bath and shrieks as he enters the door. He is her world. They are mine.
But during summer nights, this family time is often interrupted by phone calls. It’s not uncommon to return to the farm to maintain crops through uncooperative weather.
At 10 p.m., I slide the remote out from his calloused hands. A list of orders rest next to his bed, and I understand why his forehead furrows in his sleep. I smooth out the peaks and gently push his shoulders away from his ears.
It’s hard to imagine why one would continue this challenging lifestyle. It’s harder for my friends to understand how I withstand being married to someone who works seven days a week for half the year – I compare it to being married to an accountant, on opposite months.
But here’s the thing: It’s his blood and bliss. This farm is the holding space for our joy.
I once heard in a meditation, “When we lay down the burden of trying to be anything other than exactly who we are, bliss comes to us effortlessly.”
This year, the Corn King celebrates 125 years of his family business. My husband continues to cultivate his deep roots, following the dirt path that makes him happiest.
And as I continue my pilgrimage to my highest and very best self, I know these are the pieces to my personal bliss: A vegetable farm, in a small town, with my baby and, of course, my husbandman.
Today I’m a farmer’s wife. On weekends I practice yoga and hope to see some sunshine. I’m a zebra in these cornfields, but I’m grateful.
This life is fun and fabulous.