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Farm Life

Last week on the way back from my daughter’s gymnastic meet in Pennsylvania we stopped off at Wyebrook Farm, which is a farm run by a Dean Carlson, a former bond trader who in 2009 decided to change his life.  As I told Dean, he is living my wife’s dream.  His farm is 45 minutes from Philly, and if you ever find yourself anywhere nearby, especially on a Sunday when he serves the most amazing brunch, I’d highly recommend a visit.  Farm life is very special and grounding, and I’ve learned that our connection to the earth is something that is truly important in our finding a fulfilling and meaningful existence.

Within a few minutes Dean realized that in me he had found somewhat of a seeker like himself and he handed me a copy of some literature by a fellow named Wendell Henry.  I had never heard of this writer but liked what I was hearing from Dean about his insights into life and was excited to read it when I got home.  It was well worth it, and I’m now into my first Wendell Berry book entitled “Sex, Economy, Freedom, & Community.”  This is a must-read… life changing stuff.

On the way home Mari wanted to stop by for some raw milk to bring home, and Dean recommended a dairy farm nearby called Bethany Farms (raw milk cannot be found in New York City).  It turns out that the Bethany store is a help-yourself place, and there is a notebook where you write what it is you’ve bought and a basket for you to leave your money.  Mari came back to the car and was blown away.  She loved the trust that was implied by that system, and imagined how warm and lovely the entire society there was.  She also felt that God was watching and came to the realization that God is always watching.  She said that we are all so preoccupied with what others see in us or how they feel about us, but it is God who is always watching us and whose opinion is the only one that matters.  Whether one is religious and believes in God, or is not and chooses to substitute “one’s conscience” for “God” in that story, the points are still very much the same.  There is a right and a wrong, and there is great power in choosing right.  And, trust invested and trust earned are very powerful concepts.  This trip, and the Wendell Berry book have combined to make me really think through some major life things.

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