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  • Edwin Shank

Look Higher, Folks

I guess we all have an inborn desire to feel appreciated, to know that we are needed… that our efforts do make a difference.

In this, our family is blessed. We get daily affirmation that you, who are nourished by our farm, do value our efforts and that these foods have made a difference in your life.

But even as we receive this warming thanks (and believe me, we do draw energy and sustenance from your approval) there is always a quiet voice in the background reminding that it’s not all about us. We are not the only cog in the wheel or even the most important.

Our family’s ideology and commitment to grow the purest and the best is only made possible by you. Our organic EcoFarm is not a government funded wildlife preserve. We continue to exist only because you, who profess to care deeply, actually do.

It is you who have made the conscious choice to make a difference. It is you who are voting with every food dollar to support our local non-industrial food system. At first glance this may not sound like a big deal, but it is. Without you, our best efforts would crash and burn inside of a month.

So, you thank us, we’ll thank you. Between us, we get to share the credit for the wonders of it all. Right?

Wrong. We need to look higher, folks.

Here is a thought exercise that I propose to help us both find our role in all this. Stick with me please, as I set it up.

Imagine if a classical music masterpiece written by, let’s say, Mozart, was messed with many years ago by some egotistical musicians. The imposters tinkered with the soprano, altered the tenor, deleted whole scores and adjusted the timing. In many cases, they actually took the symphony apart. Whole specialty orchestras were devoted to play the soprano all by itself. In another symphony hall other specialty players very seriously performed the bass – alone.

And so for all the parts, the tenor, the alto, the baritone, each had its own group of professional players. They were the experts. They were efficient. They were highly skilled. They held degrees from prestigious universities of music. Each knew their respective part well. They were proud of their modern musical arrangements and everyone thought that the music was beautiful and normal.

But one of the conductors has an humble moment of reflection. Even though he does not write music, (it is beyond his understanding) he profoundly enjoys orchestrating well-written music and he has the utmost respect and admiration for the Master musician.

He studies the Master. He studies his life. He studies the history of his most famous musical compositions. He studies the music itself. The more he studies, the more he is drawn to the realization that the Master’s work, though being played everywhere is not being respected or experienced in its full glory because it is not being played as the Master has written it.

So this conductor, in spite of his peers, sets out to orchestrate the Master’s music exactly as it is written. He restores the original note arrangement, reintroduces the concept of harmony and symphony, obeys the Master’s rhythm, and places every cello, every violin, every harp, every trumpet in its proper place and directs their performance accordingly.

The beauty that pours from the orchestra leaves men and women speechless. Who would have known... who could have guessed... who would have dreamed that such beauty, such expression, such harmony, such rhythm, such emotion existed in music?

When the last vibrating note has echoed from the stunned symphony hall, the crowd erupts in jubilant applause for the ingenuity of the conductor. He is a hero! Everyone is singing his praises. Everyone wants him to tell the story of how he discovered the secret to the best music ever.

But his answer is simple.

So simple it is almost disappointing.

He has followed the Master’s plan. Why it works he does not know, how it works he cannot explain. But that it works is for all to experience and to enjoy. He in humility bows to the crowd and directs their praise to the Master that he follows.

So, during this thankful season, while we rightfully thank God for you and you thank God for us, let’s all pause a moment, in silence listen, and in humility look higher… and worship the Master as we bask in the beauty of His symphony.

It’s all about Him!

Your farmer,



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