It is impossible for me to describe the experience of what was shared on the farm the past few days. I have written about Sukkot, the Jewish holiday celebrating the harvest, and I have written about Wilderness Torah, and their earth based approach to Judaism. As a non-Jew, I am very much an observer at this gathering; but as the one who is now responsible for this land and the path our farm takes, I get to play an integral part of Sukkot. This year I had the opportunity to join the community, and in turn they honored and comforted me.
Over the past week I watched the setup team build the village. People worked together for days to create a space for community, a space for reflection, for healing, for stillness, for prayer, and for song and dance in celebration of the blessings of life and the land. The Sukkah was beautiful, willow branches and bamboo adorned the ceiling, twinkle lights represented the stars of heaven. In the evenings we gathered for the prayers and blessings. We also remembered those who have left us this past year; Nigel featured rather prominently. Saturday night a band came in and played beautiful music; people danced into the night. When the band finished, the music continued with people singing in the Tea Tent.
One early morning I took a few people out for a walk around the farm. As we typically do with farm walks, we ended in the strawberry field, to enjoy the sweet, red berries. I heard one of the little ones tell their parent they never liked strawberries, but they LOVED Eatwell Strawberries.
The Hearth Staff worked tirelessly day and night preparing food. Every day we had delicious meals prepared for us, and for 200 people a few times a day, that is a lot of work! I loved sneaking in to take a peak at all the goings on. Their set up was incredible, really organized and a fly net system that seemed to work amazingly well!
As with all events, by the time it is near the end, I am pretty exhausted, Sukkot was no exception. But now that the farm is quiet, and I am adjusting to not having a “village” set up next to my home, I have time to reflect all that happened over the whirlwind of the past few days. Whether you are a believer or not, it is hard not to feel the power with this type of spirituality, that is open and accepting to all. Something happens when people gather as a group offering thanks for the land that nourishes us, and thanks for those who work so hard to bring us that food. I feel immense gratitude to have had the chance toshare in all of it, and to play my own part.