Monday, June 3, 2013

The Farmer and the Biologist!

Minds are like parachutes.
They only function if they are open.
            Thomas Robert Dewar


I watch as a bagel baker shakes a stick at an agitated woman, I remind myself this is not my world and my instinct tells me to not intervene, instinct is all I have and I have always relied on it. I order a bagel from him even though this makes me sad and a little nervous. The very nice workers take the time to explain to me that she takes all of their samples every day and they have to scare her off, I think about the poor woman who must be hungry, yet the hardworking people behind the counter trying to make a buck in this economy, I have no answer for this. I wonder if this woman lives on the street, and think of my refrigerator full of food back home on the farm. I watch this same woman eat samples of salami from the meat counter, she is wearing a nice jacket and jeans but her shoes are tattered and worn. The city has always confused me as far as appearances go.

I take my warm cream cheese covered bagel and walk over to the tables and chairs crowded together in between two food stalls, it has been a long trip and I can feel the weight of the heavy back pack starting to slow me down. Before I grab a seat, I order a coffee from the bakery and quickly grab one of the two only empty seats; I set the bagel and coffee down and finally unhook that back pack and set it on the floor. I sit facing the meat counter full of cuts of beef, chicken, and pork and enjoy this lunch thinking I wish I could have had a better view but loving the hum of the St Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto. Far from home, I can see where the food produced by hardworking farmers from everywhere makes the people of this city happy.

Sitting here with that delicious bagel now gone and relaxing and enjoying that much-needed coffee after a very long trip an older woman sets down her bag on the seat beside me, I watch as she turns and orders a coffee from the bakery not worrying about if I would run away with her bag, she sits down beside me. We smile at each other, and say “Hello” at the same time, we giggle and that is when the conversation began, simple as that. I drink my coffee while she enjoys hers as if we were old friends at the kitchen table back on the farm and not surrounded by the noise of this market full of people rushing by, a baby crying, people laughing and the rumble of heavy food carts rolling across the floor.


It turns out (I shall call her) Mary is a Biologist, I must admit on hearing that, I was a little intimidated thinking about what we could possibly have in common, my being a farmer just hopping off the train from the farm this morning, and her a well-educated woman living in the largest city in Canada, I was pleasantly surprised. Out of the corner of my eye I watch the bagel stealing hungry woman walk by with cheese samples in her hand, her eyes darting back and forth. I answer Mary’s question, I am a farmer, and that is when I started getting more from this conversation than I could have ever imagined. 

We fit perfectly together, two people seemingly from completely different worlds with a common interest and love of our lives. I love when this happens, and it seems to happen more often than not, at least in my world.
Mary was a fascinating woman with a beautiful accent and wonderful stories; she has lived and worked in places I had only dreamed of seeing someday. A well-travelled woman, who was very good at her job and lived life to its max, I asked her where she loved living and working the most out of everywhere she had been and she replied “Taiwan” I was fascinated on hearing this since she had lived in so many places like Italy, USA, Quebec and now lives and loves Toronto.

We started talking about cows, manure, and natural farming practices. I smiled thinking that I was sitting and talking about manure in a food market in the largest city in Canada staring at a meat counter filled with cuts of beef, pork and chicken with a world travelled Biologist and enjoying every moment of this conversation. There was talk about growing garlic, riding mules rather than driving a car in Italy, and growing up in the Riviera which sounded so wonderful to me. There was talk of beef farming and the world of farming now and of course how good natural manure was for sustainable farming versus chemicals. We laughed and shared stories of our youth, our hopes and dreams for the future, and those everyday bits and pieces of our lives with not one thought to the differences between us.

This wonderful encounter only proved to me that which I have always believed to be true; most people regardless of who they are, where they come from or where they are going always have some common ground, the secret has always been to be open enough to receive the information and believe in this fact.

Mary and I talked for almost an hour while the busy people with heavy carts, crying and laughing kids whizzed by with their shopping bags full of produce from all over the world not even noticing this farm girl and this Biologist sitting enjoying a coffee and conversation about manure in the heart of their city.

 I cannot help but wonder if I had not been open enough to listen to this wonderful woman’s conversation after hearing what Mary did for a living and had given into those feelings of intimidation at my lack of a Ph.D, how much I would have missed. This wonderful woman and her story will stay with me forever.


Mary and I, our coffee cups now empty and on realizing how much time we had sat there lost in conversation knew our time to part was now upon us. I gave Mary my Blog address and she gave me her card. I told Mary that I was writing stories about fascinating people I meet on this trip and her being the very first Biologist I ever had a conversation with she was certainly one of those fascinating people. We hugged goodbye I threw that heavy back pack up over my shoulder as I watched Mary make her way through the crowd. Oh, I love my life.

Later



  

49 comments:

  1. I love being pleasantly surprised by people :)

    I was glad to see you back this morning! :) I hope you enjoyed your time away!!

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  2. Common Ground. It really is so very easy to find.

    {Welcome back B. What a great story to return to bloggerland with.}

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  3. So glad you are back with us! You wrote this so well I felt like I was right there with the two of you, enjoying the day with you.

    I, too, feel for the woman who was having to steal the food. So often, there's so much more to their stories we don't know. I pray she finds help and restoration soon.

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  4. don't you just love when you meet someone new and it feels like you've been friends forever? i was out walking one day, a couple of months ago and came upon an older woman who was up in the cemetery near the trail i was on. she said something to me about the cemetery and we just started talking...stood there for about an hour talking. it was so easy!

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  5. Sometimes you don't need to head off to see the world...sometimes it comes to you. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I stay in Toronto for a few weeks each year for school( offered by my employer for enrichment and upgrading). I stay at the Novotel right on front street not a block from the St. Lawrence market- great spot to people watch. I concur- I find good ,intetrresting ,friendly people everywhere!

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  7. There are people you can connect with, no matter their background. That's what makes life so interesting.

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  8. Lovely to have a post from you and trust you enjoyed you time away from blogging as I am sure you did.
    Great to meet other people, and it's even better when others speak for then you find out what you have in common and can learn from them, as they can learn from you :) Hugs M xoxox

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  9. Welcome back!!! I can see you had a good time, and now we get to have the good time, reading all about your adventures!! My sciatica is a bit better, allowing me to edit all the photos I took in Woodstock - slowly, though...

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  10. Welcome back Buttons! I was happy to see a post from you this morning. I think it's so neat, how you can talk to just about anyone. Everyone's story is so unique, and most people are happy to share, if we are willing to listen.

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  11. Your storytelling ability is fabulous... enjoyed every moment.
    Did you ever catch up with the Bagel stealer, to ask her what her story was? :))))

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  12. B-I love your life too! And I'm so glad you shared this story. I agree so much about people having common ground if they only will talk to each other. One time, when I was living in Oregon, a group of White Supremacist "skinheads" were having a demonstration outside a coffee shop. A young African American man approached one of the protesters and offered to buy him a cup of coffee and asked him if they could just find someplace to talk and maybe they would find they could be friends. I always admired the bravery and hope in that young man's request...
    Lovely, wonderful story today, my writer friend:)

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  13. Wonderful, wonderful post. Wish I lived closer to you.

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  14. a wonderful encounter for two wonderful women. :)

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  15. Good to see you back B, and with such a great story!

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  16. Great story Buttons! But she is not the first biologist you have communicated with--for I too am a biologist by degree, though not Piled Higher and Deeper... ;)

    Vic303

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  17. Buttons, do not be impressed by my BS degree. Other than having it, I have not used it in any professional sense. I enjoyed getting it, and I have enjoyed the science behind much of it, but in a lot of ways, college was a waste of time and money--even back in the 80's.

    Vic303

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  18. A wonderful chance encounter! I a, glad you have had a lovely, refreshing break and are back with your stories about life that are always so beautiful x

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  19. best.life. ever!

    xoxoxox

    ps - you are an adventurer, and I love your adventures'!

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  20. Hope you had a good break.

    I never make friends in random places like that! What a story.

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  21. Welcome back - I love this story! Mary sounds like a truly amazing and interesting person. I find more and more that I enjoy talking with strangers - the differences in our lives can be so very interesting.

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  22. Wonderful story, Buttons. I love reading your stories!
    When you said Mary was a biologist, I just knew you would have much in common: she knows about biology, and you live it! Different perspectives, but the same subject.

    Blessings!

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  23. Welcome back, B, and I do hope you enjoyed your time off!

    I love this story. You told it in such a way that I was right there with you. Mary sounds like a wonderful person, and I'm so glad you two connected.

    I am trying to be more open to strangers. I tend to be quite shy, so it's hard for me sometimes. But I do believe we are all connected, and I want to try to live that way.

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  24. You're back! Yay!!!

    I love this post. It is so awesome that you made a connection with her. I would have been intimidated by her title as well but I'm glad you didn't let it stop you from speaking with her. I hope she sees this post! :)

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  25. A random encounter to lift all our spirits. And what would we do if no one knew how to farm?

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  26. Sounds like a wonderful time, B! Always glad for you during these encounters.

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  27. Oh how i love reading about your life . . . Thank you for this - full of thoughtful wonder - post.
    -g-

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  28. -Sometimes things just click ;) Thanks for the reminder to put the cell phone down and enjoy the surroundings.

    I have been to Toronto just once. It was the middle of February and I loved it!

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  29. Oh, I love serendipitous meetings like this. I was there with you enjoying the encounter through your telling of it. Most people won't take the time to share and find common ground. What a blessing!

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  30. What a wonderful story teller you are! I do not doubt for a minute that your new biologist friend felt equally enriched by your meeting.

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  31. A wise man once told me to learn something from everyone I meet. I'm glad to see that you also heed that credo. Thanks for sharing.

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  32. I just love hearing your stories. How nice to have met such a nice lady to have coffee with... and I am sure she thought you live a very exciting life.

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  33. Oh how wonderful that you met Mary while having your coffee. I think it is fascinating hearing other people's stories. I hope you manage to stay in contact with her. :))

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  34. A wonderful story and adventure you had and it isn't that surprising that lots of us share that common ground ! I myself do not like Toronto or any big city , I prefer small towns with farmers markets fresh from the local farmers ! Thanks for sharing , wonderful writing . Have a good day !

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  35. How wonderful that you met Mary!! I think we do have so much common ground with other people around the world. Sometimes it is just hard to get past the outer surface to find out about each other.

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  36. What a great way to start your trip, Miss B. Everyone we meet has a story. I agree with you, we can find somekind of common ground or similar tidbit from anyone we meet.

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  37. what a wonderful story b!! every single person who comes in to our lives has something to offer, something to share!! and both people are richer because of it!!

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  38. Isn't it funny how things happen?! Great story and I hope you enjoyed your break!

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  39. Someday when I get my act together I want to meet you in Toronto...it's only 3 hours from here. Nice to see a post...What takes you there? Vacation?

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  40. It's so nice to find a kindred spirit so far from home! I love when that happens! Cities scare me - you are brave for going there by yourself. A lovely story. xo

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  41. I'm overwhelming...
    Thank you
    BShell
    blueshell.azurara.net

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  42. I'm another one glad to find you back blogging, Buttons.

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  43. I'm so glad you took the opportunity and the time to make a fascinating new friend. I agree that when we have a chance to open up we usually find people have much in common and much to share. Glad you're back.

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  44. I loved this story! Thanks for stopping by my blog so I could find you. I'll be back!

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  45. Can I say first, you are a farmer, and farms feed people..without you we wouldn't be eating those delish bagels, and cheese. So thank you to all of the farmers of the world, you do such a important job, and most of us take it for granted.


    Jen

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  46. My dad (a farmer) was always intimidated by educated people as well. But I only think an education would have made him smarter. He was so much more read then many people I knew and had experience that others didn't. Farmers are that way, open, continuing daily education to change with the time, courses, talks through agriculture assoc, being on the boards and committees of those associations. We had farm hands from all over the world on our doorstep. He learned from them about their countries. He learns daily and is open to do that. As do you. I sometimes feel very dumb in front of him. He'll ask me what I think on a certain political topic (which isn't my love) and I feel guilty for not being better informed. Farmers should have all have Phd's. They are never allowed to stop learning.

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  47. what a wonderful encounter! Shows how much we can see and enjoy if we open our minds and hearts

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  48. Love your writing as always . No doubt in my mind you could have a captivating conversation with most anyone including ..presidents , queens and Barb Walters !

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  49. oh i love the st lawrence market! and toronto in general! i do hope to make it back soon and maybe be the person who sits herself next to you at a dining counter! :)

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The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

Please do not copy my work. If you like it let me know I am sure we can work something out. Copyright is in place.