Several years ago, about 15 years into having sheep but before I started selling produce in farmers' markets, I had a part-time job of reviewing movies for an upstate weekly. Waiting for a screening, I was seated in a diner on lower Third Avenue in New York with Cineman (his professional nom-de-guerre since the days he reviewed film for a daily in Hartford), a person I had befriended in Middletown; we would go to the City to preview movies that were about to come out with the hoy palloi of reviewers, famous and not, and print our opinions.
Cineman noticed a homeless person shuffling up the Avenue and said to no one in particular, "There but for the grace of God go I". And looking at him, I said that's what Donald Trump says when, driving by in his limo, he sees us.
On Sunday I thank New York on Twitter for the Saturday @UnSqGreenmarket just past; not to insure the return of another good market day, or to magically divine a future coming of that grace of God—which it is; but to hold it away from me—just beyond my fingertips as it always is—to realize it as such, to make sure that I never understand thankfulness as a wish that can be fulfilled. Saying it, being thankful in words, I feel the emptiness and the distance of the utterance from the acts or circumstances, given or granted, on purpose by another or by a happenstance that caused my sense of inadequacy. But I still say, "Thank you." What else can you do?
Saying "thank you" is the simple acknowledgment that the debt for which one is grateful can never be paid back in full and that sounds very similar to a paraphrase of a quote by St. Augustine that I'm fond of, you can't justify your existence by the experience of it alone.
I suppose that being a small farmer, one who has few tethers, makes it easier for me to arrive and stay comfortably at an incompletion rather than to force a conclusion that would be erroneous to my way of thinking. I'm thankful that I have sheep who produce wholesome lamb and fine Merino yarn, that I grow the best of garlic and that I have a busy market in which to sell my produce. The sense of owing so many people and things for this singular existence of mine is what makes it so rare.