On Monday I shared one answer to the question, “What is the connection between the Serene Disciple Project and Egret Isle Farm?” If you missed it you can read it below.
The second connection between The Serene Disciple and Egret Isle has to do with honoring a sense of place, recognizing and interacting with the land which participates integrally with the other components of our lives. In the hyper-transient age in which we live it is rare, and may even seem odd, to think about how the place where we live plays a part in the life that is lived there. We can be disconnected from a sense of place or we can cultivate a sense of place. It is the goal of the Serene Disciple Project to model the process of that cultivation.
To know a place takes time and attention. It takes being truly present in that place, watching the changes brought by each season, feeling the rhythms of the life in the plants and animals that share the place, living as much as possible in harmony with the land as opposed to seeing it and what lives there merely as resources to be used. Cultivating a sense of place also means accepting one’s role as divinely appointed steward of the land, valuing it as a precious gift and knowing its history.
For instance, thanks to my neighbor Charlene Hansen, I know that for many centuries Native Americans followed the grazing buffalo herds across the land that is now Egret Isle Farm. It was all open prairie then, with tall native grasses, wolves, and wild horses. In the late 1800s my land was part of large cattle leases and Texas longhorns replaced the buffalo. Then the area was settled by Scandinavian and German immigrants and my land became the home of a Danish family named Nelson. In fact, two generations of Nelsons worked, played, lived out their lives, and grew old here. In 1973 Bill and Letta Leech bought the land and turned it into a pecan farm. They too lived and then grew old here, adding their blood and sweat to the soil of this place. And now I and my family add our own. Our life on this land is a part of the larger story of this place, connecting the lives that have been lived here with the lives that will come to be lived here in the future.
And, in a sense, we are becoming part of the place and it a part of us. We eat the produce of the rich, black clay soil in the garden. We eat the meat from the animals that graze the lush green grass along the creek as have all who have lived here back across the centuries. And, even though I have only lived here a few years, I feel a kinship with this place, a part of something larger, connected rather than isolated.
Do you have to own a farm to experience this sense of connection? No, of course not! You can learn the history of whatever place you call home, learn its stories, realize that your life is a connected continuation of the life that has gone before, realize that your life is in a complex relationship with the plant and animal life in the place you call home, recognize that you are connected to a larger story that is, ultimately, the story of God expressed in creation. Revel in that story! To be honest, I find that all easier to do here at Egret Isle than I did in suburbia, but wherever your place, cultivating that connection is worth the effort and nourishing for your soul. And, we host farm days as a way of helping people cultivate a connection with a sense of place. Stand barefoot in the warm soil of the garden and listen to the conversation of the chickens, the songs of the birds, and take in the aroma of growing things. It will do you a world of good!
This Saturday, March 2, we will kick off our first farm day. While we hope you will come to experience that world of good, we also need help. There are many tasks required to create a space for sustainable life and sustainable agriculture. If you believe in the work we are doing, please consider joining us in that work. For details visit: https://egretislefarm.com/news-and-events/.
There’s lots to do, so come along!