When I first set foot on the piece of land that is now the Surprise Lake Camp Farm, I felt an immediate spiritual connection to the land. That was back in March and camp was still gripped in winter’s cold embrace. Surveying the property, I kicked aside the snow to reveal the earth below as though it was calling me to do so. Scratching at the ground, I loosened some soil, picked it up and let it warm in my hand. After about a minute, I held it close to my face and breathed in its earthy aroma. It was sweet and somewhat pungent. It felt vibrant and filled with promise.
Many months of hard work ensued. Ivy and I had much to do; preparing beds, starting seeds, and clearing the rocks that now border the garden paths. Very quickly, as if the land had been waiting for us, the trees leafed out, the birds began arriving and we could feel the life stirring beneath our feet. It was then that I began my daily ritual of walking the property just after dawn to say ‘good morning.’ The farm, which was not yet a farm, seemed to answer me. I could feel its spirit. It was alive, and its promise was being realized.
Earlier this week, our first crops came in. It began with the appearance of 487 smiling children, running and skipping across the land. Their arrival seemed to suit the farm, for that very same day they were joined by our first cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes. It was nothing short of miraculous.
I don’t know how to explain such a thing except to acknowledge and revere the spirit of this place. That our first vegetables should happen to show up on the very same day as the kids is entirely spiritual, yet, somehow, not surprising. This land is special. This camp is miraculous. These kids nourish the spirit of the farm.
Yesterday, we had our first activity groups inside the fenced garden. We sang and laughed and sampled some of the veggies. The radishes, lettuce, and mint were big hits.
And now we are all together, in perfect harmony, enlivened by the presence of our children, watched over by the spirit of the farm. And to that we say . . .
Until next week, let’s all Stay Dirty together.