Terra Brockman is an advocate for—and close observer of—sustainable agriculture. She founded an organization called The Land Connection that works to preserve farmland, train new farmers and connect people with local food. She lives in central Illinois and is the author of The Seasons on Henry's Farm: A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm.
What is life like at the farm after the harvest is over? I call it the wabi-sabi time of year. Wabi-sabi is the Buddhist concept that everything changes; impermanence is itself a thing of beauty. My brother Henry says that this wabi-sabi season is all about "the beauty of sadness, and the sadness of beauty." It is sad in one way to see the leaves fall, the basil blacken, and the tomato and other annual plants turn to mush. But all those dead plants break down and become food for fungi and bacteria and enhance next year's crops.