Where the Red Maples Grow (Week 2)


Saturday, 20 October 2018. It’s difficult to describe the beauty that surrounds me in this place. This time of year brings out the rich colours of the trees’ leaves and gives an already breathtakingly beautiful environment an extra special feel. The deep and vivid colours of the red maples are most beautiful to me.

I spend time grounding myself each day, connecting by walking around barefoot and connecting the soles of my feet with the ground. I believe it’s this connection with Mother Earth, the ancestors and the Divine that allows me to persist in this space through all of the uncertainty.

We’ve continued to learn more about how this place is organised - the animals and vehicles, fields and program skills. While I’ve appreciated this learning, our forest walk with a local tree expert has been the most profound experience of the week for me. The opportunity to explore the forests and spend time with the trees and all of the life present in the forests, made me feel a connection to this place that transcends space and time. I look forward to spending more time in conversation with and grounding in the natural space here on the Ridgetop.

See below for some pictures from our walks this week.

Wait... What?! (Week 1)


Saturday, 06 October 2018. So, we stufas (student farmers) moved in this week and were formally oriented to the farm and the farm’s expectations. For me, as much as this week was about familiarising myself with the “Ridgetop” (bka Maggie’s Farm, Sentinel Elm, and Waslaske - the farms that make up the entire property), it has also been about getting used to Massachusetts and the New England area. My thoughts can be summed up as, “Wait… What?!”

From the cold weather (it’s already below 50 degrees every day) and change of scenery (we’re at the top of a mountain ridge) to the stark, incredibly white community and absence of the cultures and sounds that have always been central to my lived experience, I feel extremely out of place. I know this will be an opportunity for growth in directions that I’ve avoided and I’m nervous and cautiously excited. I pray that when this experience is over, my family and friends will see me and say, “Wait… What?!” because I’ve grown so much.

A Mustard Seed: The Journey Begins

And he saith unto them, Because of your little faith: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20 ASV)

And he saith unto them, Because of your little faith: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20 ASV)

Preparing to embark on this journey of spending a year living and working on a farm at The Farm School (http://farmschool.org/learntofarm/) has been one that tested my faith. Questions abounded… “I have grown people bills; how will I pay them?” “Where will the boys (my dogs) Sebastian and Pemberton stay?” “How will I pay the Farm School’s $18,500 tuition, room, and board?” “Am I ready to commit to being in community with an overwhelmingly white staff and fellow students?” “What about continuing my career as an educator?”

I do not have a history of deep, unwavering faith, so the need to rely on faith at all is quite challenging for me. However, the Divine took my mustard seed of faith and used it to move the dream of joining the Fall 2018 cohort of student farmers to reality. The Divine manifested answers to all of my questions and even those that hadn’t crossed my mind. Progressing through the experience of manifesting this new reality aligned with the Divine’s purpose for my life keeps my mind focused on Matthew 17:20.

In two days, I complete my move from New Orleans, Louisiana - with a stop in Virginia - to the Farm School in Orange, Massachusetts. Absolutely everything I need, support of family and friends, financial stability, clothing and supplies, and a fellowship to fully fund the Farm School program, came through right on time. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am right where I am supposed to be and that the learning, healing, and growth I experience over this next year is integral to fulfilling my life’s purpose. I am beyond grateful and deeply humbled to have this opportunity and look forward (with some trepidation) to the year to come.

As I take my last steps of one journey and the first steps of this new, divinely ordained, journey, I hope to:

  • Continue the legacy of my ancestors and elders - earth workers, youth workers, and spiritual workers - in a way that honours them and makes them proud;

  • Gather all of the knowledges and experiences necessary to come back and continue the work of co-creating Freedom Schools, Freedom Farm Cooperatives, and community spaces that help us get free;

  • Have the opportunity to experience the kind of healing necessary to be my best, highest self because self-care is revolutionary;

  • Honour the lives of the 79 young people I’ve lost in the past 7 years - their lives will always matter and I do this because of all they taught and invested in me; and

  • Laugh, learn, love (and every other positive experience) without bounds.

I plan to blog and vlog each week throughout this next year, as a record of all of the experiences and part of my self-care routine. Thank you for taking this first step with me.

Posted on October 1, 2018 .