naming your baby (or farm)

When I was pregnant with my first child, we decided not to find out the sex of the incoming baby. "It'll be fun to find out when he/she/it arrives!" So after those few days of labor, when I was finally holding this awake, sparkly-eyed girl in my arms, I didn't have a name for her. It took us 24 hours. Now she has this name for life, or at least the forseeable future, and I've spoken that moniker thousands of times.

Deciding to have this farm-baby is life changing. I'm thinking about the name of this place-- is it a place? or an idea? or a community?-- carefully. It's not yet permanently attached to a piece of ground. This fall I'm planting 15,000 or so cloves of garlic on borrowed land, but I think my future holds land of my own... a sea of permanent raised beds on a gentle south-facing slope backed by an orchard and some berry patches. The name must travel well.

How do you choose a name for your child? Or your business? Or your farm? 

I recently heard an episode of the The Moth Radio Hour celebrating its 20th anniversary. The last spotlight was a story:

"In cultures with ancient roots, when people feel unwell, they go to the elder healer of the community. This wise one asks four questions to discern the state of health:

"When was the last time you danced?

"When was the last time you sang?

"When was the last time you listened to another's story?

"When was the last time you told your own story?"

By profession, I'm a nurse. I've spent a lot of time listening to folks' stories of wellness and suffering. The hope that rests in this farm-baby is prevention of suffering. I want to do the good earth work that brings so much joy and health and community to the body and the spirit.

I'll be doing some dancing, and I hope my children and neighbors and family and strangers-who-will-become-friends will join me too. You might hear me singing out in the fields.