I have twice visited a heavenly farm and world-renowned restaurant in the past two weeks. I watched heritage breed geese settle in to their new home, piglets with long curly tails fighting for their lunch. There were cows scratching their hides against trees while others lingered in a free-flowing brook. The cleanest and most beautiful chicken coop I have ever seen was the home to a hundred or so laying hens. Irrigation drip lines fed into drinking dishes for these hens, and they squabbled around, chatting and napping in the fresh hay. I have wanted to come here for years. The farm is among the best in the nation, the educational and sustainability driven non-profit is one I’ve always admired.
The restaurant runs on these fields, serving their pork and carrots. It is recognized as one of the best, it is a Chez Panisse, it is a French Laundry. I am honored to be offered a position.
The trouble is, it’s a position in a field from which I’m trying to be released. You know, when you’ve stayed too long in a position that comes naturally and easily, but isn’t necessarily using your full potential and passion (that’s right, bartenders and waiters, I’m looking at you!)? I’m hoping to just be a writer one day, a writer that focuses on food security, responsible agriculture, healthful eating, food systems and food rituals around the world. I do not want to be a waiter/writer forever. Every time I take a new opportunity in a restaurant, I’m one step further from being only a writer. These are adult decisions; hard to make and definitely hard to know if you’ve made the right one.
I don’t think I’ll take the position offered though. It is not a guarantee that this one will feed into the one I’d hope to have on the farm and in the office. And it’s too risky to add more of my writing time to my waiting time; I’ve waited long enough.