This past weekend we had our Harvest Celebration at Roberts Roost. It is a time when we gather our friends from the community to share food, fire, and talents, and to enjoy each others company. Most of all it is a time to talk about everything and nothing, to share stories, to laugh, to give and receive support without any agenda. Out of these conversations around the fire two ideas arose that I need to explore.
The first is the power and importance of community as we take the road less traveled. I’ll be posting those thoughts on NDiN.
The second is the power of community to act. I’ll be posting about that on Roberts Roost.
Part 1. The power of community on the road less traveled.
Saturday dawned cold and gray. Rain threatened and a cold wind made the final preparations for our Harvest Celebration difficult. By noon the pavilion was up, the last of the lights were strung, and the chili was bubbling away on the stove. Our out of town guests arrived, and the kids scattered, catching up with friends they hadn’t seen in several months. The rain started and with it calls started coming in, people canceling because of the weather. It looked like it was going to be a small party. We got our out of town guests settled in M’s lovely Hill House, made the corn bread, and started setting out food and drinks. The out-of-towners came back and helped set things out. The rain stopped, but the wind kicked up. Fires were built, outside in the fire circle, inside in the fireplaces. M and G arrived, looking around for the party. They found us chatting by the fireplace in the living room. We settled in, making introductions, finding drinks, discussing whether or not we should move the food back in the house. Then the wind died down, and people started arriving, bundled up in coats, bearing dishes of food, musical instruments, laughter, and smiles. A new mob of kids joined the rampage (the children didn’t seem to notice the inclement weather.) Food was served, drinks poured, and folks settled in around the crackling fire, perching on fence rails, straw bales, and logs. Another round of introductions (none of these people had met.) Stories were shared, successes celebrated, failures commiserated and solutions discussed. People shared laughter, songs, poems, and dances. Connections were made, commonalities discovered. The seeds of a new community were sowed.
Chatting with people in the days after our little party I discovered a surprising theme. The new connections that had been made while chatting around the fire sparked joy in people. There was a sense of camaraderie, of understanding, of fitting in at least a bit. Most of us who chose to walk the road less traveled are fiercely independent. We also find that most people we meet don’t understand what we do, why we do it. They think of us as weird, or quaint. It can be very isolating and lonely. Finding community is important. On line communities, like NDiN where ideas, knowledge, and stories are shared are a great form of support and inspiration. But local communities are key. People you can laugh with, help and be helped by, cry with, share with are vital to anyone wanting to thrive as a homesteader.
A party is a great way to build such a group. (You shouldn’t over analyze who you are inviting, serendipitous connections are the best, and you can’t plan those.) Just make an excuse to get people together to share food and drink, laughter and stories. Magic will happen and your world will be richer for it.
Alan can also be found at Roberts Roost writing about his families adventures on their micro-eco-farm.