My wife grew up in Mount Vernon. When I first came here and met her neighbors and friends and saw the way her face lit up, I knew this is where we were going to end up. I have never once regretted that decision. It is one of the few places where I feel there is a genuine community left in our world. Neighbors help neighbors, we come together nearly every Saturday and have breakfast (not everyone comes, but all are welcome) together. We have neighbors that have helped keep our fields open while we are re-establishing our homestead. We share produce, food, and laughter. I love this town.
Sometimes, I lose focus of how happy I am in our little corner of the world. I did this weekend. I was paralyzed by the events in Charlottesville. My wife and I completed another chicken tractor (our broilers were getting a little crowded in theirs, and I wanted their last couple of weeks to be as comfortable as possible)- but I couldn’t do anything else I planned. Our orchard went unmowed, our pears are still ripe on the branches. I couldn’t not focus on the national events. I cannot understand man’s inhumanity to man. There was so much I had to do, and have to do, but I read, and slept, and wept the rest of the day.
I got distracted from the things that I do that make me happy. That make our spot on this earth just a little better. That nurture my soul and our land. I know I need to focus on this. I can’t control what is in anyone’s heart but my own. I can only take care of the people around me, and they take care of me. This is not to say that we should be insular and closed off from the world. Obviously, that is not a possibility in this day and age. We need to continue to strive to make our world better and more tolerant. We need to confront evil whenever we can, but we can’t focus simply on the bad. We need to look for the good. We all need to work a little harder on that.
I am redoubling my efforts this week to improve my world in the capacity I can. I just got back from a committee that is creating the vision for our town for the next decade. I will go to the Fire Station for our training. I will pick those pears. I will hold my wife tightly. I will not forget that the world is bigger than my town, our farm, and our family, but I will not lose sight of the fact that there is work to do right here as well.