A new year brings thoughts of resolutions and new endeavors. My resolution is to be more hopeful, in all things. But recently it has been a challenge for me to find reasons to be hopeful. Wendell Berry’s list of authentic reasons for hope, which I found in the foreword to a book in the Berry Center library, “Kentucky’s Natural Heritage: An Illustrated Guide to Biodiversity” is exactly what the doctor ordered for my winter doldrums:
#1. We can learn where we are. We can look around us and see. If we see, by many observable signs, that during our history here we have lost much that we once had, we will see also that much remains.
With Wendell’s words in mind, on a January day earlier this year, my husband and I took a walk up Emily Run to our waterfall and swimming hole. The wintery landscape was beautiful; this was an invigorating and inspiring walk.
Our farm is about 90 acres – some woods and some pasture. We have begun to talk about establishing a small – very small – farm and home economy: chickens, pigs, calves, a garden and sustainable forestry. We are fortunate that the wintery weather is keeping us indoors and we have time to be mindful as we plan how to accomplish these big improvements here on Blue Skies Farm.
A lovely and generous woman, Marie Avery, grew up on our place. She has drawn the layout of our farm, as it was in the years she lived here. Her family raised chickens, cattle, geese, ducks and pigs, a garden, corn and tobacco. In back of our house, there was a springhouse, fed by a spring that never failed.
Only the house we live in remains of her farm. We have uncovered the spring and some stones from the walls of springhouse. But maybe we can use Mrs. Avery’s memories to guide us in its restoration and renewal.
#4. There is hope in seeing what we need to do, and in doing it. Wendell Berry