Tuesday, April 06, 2010


farm sign

My family spent the last week living on a dairy farm in New York state--chaperoning twelve homeschooled children at farm camp. It was an amazing, exhausting week full of both laughter and tears, stress and quiet peace.

The biodynamic farm we visited is the same farm that Colin Beavan ("No Impact Man") visited with his family. Although it was the first time David and I had been up there, it was the third year of camp for many of the children.

In the next few posts, I'll talk more about some of the incredible things we got to do and see.

Today I'll leave you with a few observations about what went on in my own head during those times we were acting as chaperones:

1. I was flooded with memories of the deep pain of homesickness I experienced when I first went to camp when I was a child.

2. I was overwhelmed by the intense memories of how cruel and exclusionary I was (usually unintentionally) when I was eleven years old.

3. I was surprised that the boys, still physically immature, were far more modest than the girls, many of whom are beginning to develop.

4. I was much more aware of the weather's effect on our attitudes and behaviors than I am at home in our suburban world, full of inside activities to blunt the connection with nature.

5. I was very amused to watch the entire group of children embrace whatever chores they were offered, even chores they complain about at home. All were eager to help in any way they could, whether it was taking out compost, beating rugs, or washing dishes. At the end of the week as we said our goodbyes, I invited any of them to come to help at our house whenever they were missing camp!

* * *

It is good to be home--back to the beginning of sprouting radishes and arugula in our backyard, back to our own beds and pillows, back to our usual routines. But spending this spring week in a place of such obvious rebirth and growth emphasizes to me how important it is to remember our connections to the land and to each other.

More details about the farm to follow in the coming days.

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