“Donkey: Ogres are like onions. We have a lot of layers.” – Shrek
The onion-layers bit is not only a metaphor from Shrek, but a metaphor used in the study of Kaballah. Jewish mysticism and moon-lore would also tell you that near the beginning of December, when the Jewish calendar month of Kislev began at the new moon, so began the month of dreams.
To mark the new moon, we at Kayam Farm took on the onion’s culinary cousin and completed our planting of garlic and metaphors. Garlic, like daffodils, is a bulb. You make a hole in fertile soil, and push in the piece of garlic you might otherwise have eaten an inch deep- before the ground’s too hard with frost. Then the garlic waits. Sleeps. Perhaps dreams. And when the moment is right in late spring, your efforts will come to fruition as a green shoot pops out of the ground, and that one piece has- magically or miraculously or naturally depending on one’s understanding of miracles and the world- turned to a head of 10-12 pieces.
Winter work on the education and programs side of a farm is like this garlic: laying all the groundwork so that in the spring, programs can just do their thing. And as the sun sets early along with my computer screen, it can feel like work of the spirit or the soul. An entire Jewish month has passed since the garlic planting and as the January cold sets in, it’s an opportunity to ask myself: what is it that I must plant now and then allow it to sit, hibernate, and rest in order to come to fruition in the spring?
And what will you?