I have spent most of my life actively avoiding being lost. I suppose it’s a desire to know where I am, and where I stand on things. I want to have thing figured out, and I want to know where I am going with life. I can imagine that many people, like myself, avoid being lost in this way. It’s an uncomfortable feeling not knowing where you are. Perhaps being lost goes against a deep human nature that disrupts that thing we call “progress.”
There is a place where people go to get actively lost- lost with purpose that is. It exists outside the small town of Shallowater, Texas, just 5 miles north of Lubbock, on an 80-acre plot of land called At’l Do Farms. Every fall, thousands of people come out to get lost in a ten-acre field of corn. They meander, back track, turn around, and “trial and error” their way through miles of intricately cut paths.
It baffles me that people will do this. In fact, it baffles my parents too, James and Patti Simpson, who 21 years ago put those first corn seeds in the ground on what is now a third-generation farm. What started out to supplement production farming turned into a full time “agribusiness” – something we didn’t even know existed. In doing so, our family took a risk that people would want to get lost, and it has paid off.
Aside from the unique opportunity of being lost, there are other reasons that people come out to At’l Do Farms. The atmosphere of the farm requires us to slow down and enjoy simple things with the people we love. At’l Do Farms urges us to walk alongside nature and to realize that we are a part of it. Take a hayride out to the pumpkin patch with the bees and soil and find the best carving jack-o-lantern. “Ooo” and “aww” at animals that are an important part of a working farm. Share a bag (or two) of kettle corn with those you’re with. It’s all quite simple really. At’l Do Farms asks us to enjoy being present with others whether we find ourselves lost or not.
On September 11, 2021, we open to the public for our 21st fall season. Looking back on the past 20 seasons I’ve come to learn something: we all approach problems from different directions. As I watch people work their way through the corn maze, I see those who take things head on, and those who take their time. Some people like to contemplate each decision, while others choose paths randomly. Some folks are content to go in circles for hours, while others want clear direction. The diversity of how we get lost and how we collaborate, and problem solve together has enlightened me. It shows that being lost is not a thing to fear, whether in life, or in a corn maze, and those that have the most fun, are often those who are content with being lost. “The world is round,” we often tell lost folks wandering in the maze. “You’ll get there eventually,” and eventually they do.
At’l Do Farms
6323 FM 1294
Lubbock, TX 79415
A Sampling of Fall Festivals with Corn Mazes & Pumpkin Patches Across the State