extending out, drawing in
During the planning phase of the event the coordinators were unsure how many people to figure on; the last I'd heard there was a rumor of about an extra hundred people around the Farm for the event; so I counted myself one of the pleasantly surprised to see around 140+ people stuffed into the Farm's dining room, living room and dish areas. DB--a staff member who has been here for over 25 years--likes to say "once a *Farmer, always a *Farmer," and never has that expression been more true. As I walked around the Farm that afternoon I ran into former Farmers, board members and other old acquaintances dating back to my early years at the Farm. People I hadn't seen in 6 years were popping up, and in true Farm spirit, walking around the Farm like they'd never left it. The Farm is such a magical space that returning to it feels like returning home, a sentiment I have heard repeated before.
The day was positively ripe with memories; a time set aside where people shared funny and touching stories about R, bad jokes (which she was famous for); a time for us to celebrate a life, not be sad for what was lost, but rather look toward the future and how we can preserve all the things that R stood for: thriftiness, hard work, a genuine love and commitment to community, a real sense of duty to others.
I don't really know how to do R justice. It is hard to explain to a stranger how others'actions or idiosyncrosies, which we are privy to, become part of our daily routines too: throwing stale bread to birds, handing graham crackers and sweets out to the littlest of the Farm children, napping on an old bench in the sun.
I turn to a poem by Uncle Walt which really reminds me of R: