“Blaze is here! Hey, everybody! Blaze is here!” trumpets Silas, the program director’s little toddler boy. “Everybody” of whom he’s referring is his parents and Hannah, a full-time garden hand and volunteer coordinator. We’re a small cohort, committing our daily tasks to simplistic, yet essential, acts devoted to the well-being of all that comes to live in our garden. Wendell Berry understood the complexities and ethereal symbolism bound in nurturing and stewarding a carved out sliver of the earth: “as an ultimate value, enduring and alive, useful and beautiful and mysterious and formidable and comforting, beneficent and terribly demanding, worthy of the best of man’s attention and care…” (Wendell Berry, The Hidden Wound).
So here we are, a small collective inspired to provide for those we don’t personally know, to educate and empower a populous, and find our souls.
The work we do is small-scale; it won’t bear sustenance for the masses or mitigate our regional poverty, despite our extraneous efforts. Yet I feel more now than ever, fulfillment and meaning in a call, the sublimity behind every tenuous task, the effectiveness and tangible change taking place at a grassroots level. I feel being birthed in my life this season is the primacy of a legacy of relationships that transcends this internship or even a linear plane of time. Is it comradery and community that awakens within, joined in an unwavering tenacious desire not to compromise on convictions or ideals of what social change looks like? I’m thriving as an individual, emotionally and spiritually, by knowing this work is not just distant acts of devotion, but personal acts of love; toward whom I don’t know, but I don’t need to see palpable fruit. I taste it every day among/with/through my colaborers.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mama T
There’s an enigmatic, ineffable shift taking place in my posture and being. I’m being changed in the act of. I think Silas is right…….maybe I have arrived.