The Farms Lesson on Love and Leadership – year one
A year of learning to farm is packed with experience and those inevitable ah ha moments – day after day. It is almost tempting to make a top ten list and call it everything I learned about love and leadership I learned while becoming a farmer. Almost. This newly evolving woman of the land has listened. As compelling as the press to categorize and give a recipe is, the farm says “let it be”.
The farm’s most powerful, consistent, enduring lesson is simply that – be. Be. The land has endured for centuries. Glaciers, fires, hail, snow, logging, hurricane, drought, glorious sun and moonlit nights and more have been its lot. Through all, the land nourishes, sustains, recovers, and evolves. It is always doing its best, while being with the weather, the time, and the creatures upon it. It simply knows that sticking to its plan, like the hedgehog of Greek mythology; it will do what it is meant to do, day by day. It knows to ‘be’ whatever is possible.
Life does give us the same choice as Hamlet so eloquently anguished – to be or not to be. Answering the call of this land was a confirmation that not to be was no longer my choice. Living here has taught me that to be is not the mythical stretch I had thought. This year has been about learning to be. The farm has illustrated daily how.
So many things on the land are so big, and they are beyond anything but the time to be as I cannot “make it happen”. Swimming holes overnight are lost as the heat turns them to mud baths. When you leave anguish and be with, they transform to a source of foot prints every morning opening a magical window on the night life of the fields. Being with, enduring dreary days of winter rains become the stuff of a skating rink over the mud as the cold settles in.
Friendships and business that too have dried are left in peace, admired for the lessons the change has brought, await the possibilities of refreshing winds and time to be and to become what they will. Being gives the heart to see what is truly there or not.
Animals seep into hearts by simply being themselves. Their being is joy and fun and comfort. Their death, so real on a property with so many, is also a lesson in being. No one says get on with it, don’t cry, as you stay bowed in your grief, and they theirs until feet move and the wind refreshes your eyes.
The brutal snapshot of logging a previously unmanaged forest becomes beauty when you take your direction from the woods themselves and see the beauty and growth ahead. Already a field lying fallow, flattened by machinery is ripe for the spring creation of a labyrinth – a task beyond mere human hands months ago.
The farm has opened my soul to the power of being, of listening, of waiting. It lives the principle that the other, whom or what are truly naturally creative resourceful and whole. They are not ours for the fixing or judging, changing or denying. They are ours for the witnessing, the loving, the fertilizing, the take your breath away gazing and the celebrating. We open ourselves to the possibility of growing with as we listen to the farm’s knowing and the enduring power of choosing to be.

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