A Sunday morning at the Farm Stand is an intriguing blend of bustle and relaxation. The foot traffic is steady and cheerful, but no one is rushed. There’s a built-in optimism. It’s my favorite way to start the week: a little caffeine for the spirit. Footsteps, conversation, and the rustle of shopping bags set the rhythm of the day. Until, that is, everyone is reduced to slow motion by the presence of 4 feet or so of dark scales sliding silently across the floor beneath the market tables. Just our harmless market black rat snake! She is neither poisonous nor aggressive and earns her keep by keeping any potential mice from making homes in the farm stand. We respect her space, and she protects ours. Since June, she’s been growing and shedding, leaving her discarded scales for us to find near the register. Here on the farm, where we invest so much of our time in growth and nature, we sometimes find that nature gifts us with little moments of perspective. I’m not normally one for reptiles, but I also don’t like to look a gift horse (gift snake? Hmmm…) in the mouth, so, I paused. That pause, and that snake, reminded me how close we still are to the natural world. Our amazing ability to change and add to the ecosystems we inhabit can obscure the realization that nature is still right here in all her glory. What a beautiful dichotomy, this balance of all of our activity coexisting with the natural spaces around us! Our snake is not an interloper; she is an invitation. This openness to nature is my favorite side effect of connecting with the farm. I wish you a week filled with pauses.