Count Your Blessings

Written By: Tawny Tesconi, Executive Director
Published: November 17, 2021

Are you feeling it too? You know that soul-grabbing feeling of new opportunities and rebirth – a sense that we have turned a corner and good things are ahead of us. I normally would equate this giddy, new beginnings feeling with the spring season, not the fall; but the twists and turns, and start and stops of the catastrophic events that have gripped Sonoma County in the last four years has held our internal, seasonal clocks hostage.

For me, October was a month of exhaling after several years of holding my breath. We made it through harvest without a major wildfire disrupting or abruptly stopping the toils of our farmers, ranchers, and growers.  All though it didn’t fix the drought, the atmospheric river that hovered over Sonoma County in October brought a sense of relief to our region and our members. My first thought when I heard the rain pounding my home in the middle of the night was that hopefully, this is enough precipitation to give our livestock folks a break from hauling water. (My second thought was – shoot, I forgot to clean out my house gutters!).

The cool, crisp days of fall that offered chilling mornings and crystal-clear afternoons also provided respite. The gradual but vivid change in weather meant we were moving out of wildfire danger. I hadn’t realized until recently how my standard early morning routine was to look out my window at the northern hills to confirm no red glows. This ritual was followed by enjoying my first cup of coffee while watching the morning news to confirm that no wildfires had ignited overnight. Both these habits started with our second year of infernos and the stark realization that the 2017 Tubbs fire was, unfortunately, not an anomaly.

The progress made in beating back and corralling COVID-19 has also allowed me to exhale. Routines such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and disinfecting are going away or being relaxed. Kids are back in school; family and friends are gathering, and we can enjoy indoor dining at our amazing local restaurants. Phew. (Although I do think we are going to have to retrain ourselves to shake hands and give those occasional shoulder hugs. I offered a handshake the other day and it resulted in a long pause and an awkward moment).

We need to appreciate what October has gifted us and how it has cued us up for November – the month to give thanks. Not only do we celebrate Thanksgiving in the eleventh month of the year, but it is also National Gratitude month.

There is so much that I am grateful for this year including Mother Nature who has smiled down on us the last few months with no wildfires and some rain. If nothing else, the last few years should have ingrained in us how nothing is constant but change, and with continual change, agriculture remains resilient and perseveres.

I am also appreciative to all the farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, food processors, and their families who have overcome the many challenges of drought, natural disasters, and the Pandemic to provide fresh, healthy sustenance that is so readily available to us. Even with supply chain interruptions, increased labor and operational costs, and a significant shift in consumer buying habits, our local producers keep us fed and make food security appear of no concern.

Lastly, I am thankful for the Farm Bureau family, especially our members who have continued their membership and supported our organization even as so many had paramount life interruptions and uncertainty. I am proud of the monumental amount of work our small but mighty staff accomplished related to wildfire response, COVID testing and vaccinations, and cementing in our mantra to be the “voice of agriculture” with our outreach efforts.  All these accomplishments could not have been realized if there wasn’t the stellar leadership that exemplifies our Board of Directors. These volunteer leaders are the backbone of our organization and their dedication and passion for our mission are applauded.

I don’t usually engage in the “challenges” offered up on Facebook, but the one that I do feel worthwhile is the call to action that circulates this time of year – the 30 Days of Thankfulness Challenge.  Whether you share it with loved ones, blast it out to the world on social media, or practice self-talk and keep your daily message of thanks solely in your mind; I ask that you accept the challenge. I have never done it before, but I am committing to doing it this year and I am guessing 30 days will not be nearly enough – I am so blessed.

Finally, when you sit down with your loved ones at the Thanksgiving table, ponder this Vietnamese Proverb, “When eating fruit, remember the one who planted the tree”.  Most of you will only need to look across the table or in a mirror to thank the person who planted your tree.

Related Articles

Premium Members

To represent, protect and advance the social, economic and educational interests of the farmers and ranchers of Sonoma County.