Our Place in the Bigger Picture

by seth o’donovan

We’re fresh off the land of the Smoky Hill River valley in Kansas.  Alexa, Bryan and I spent three days there at The Land Institute’s annual conference.  Camping in an orchard, craving ice-genre desserts in the ninety-five degree heat, and hearing the voices of the people in the country who are at the heart of our movement forward with our relationships to the land and our food production.  Voice after voice began their talks with stories of their grandparents and how they continue the story of people on a particular piece of land and how that informs the questions of what we do with the land for our grandchildren.  And we were so encouraged to be hear all of the ways The Guest House can have a really true impact in the work being done by friends of the land across the country and world.

The time spent in Kansas had an incredibly grounding role in my own life and the life of The Guest House for this point in time…grounding to hear the voices of people who have been doing work out of a love for the land for many decades, grounding to wake with the sun and sleep with the crickets, grounding to be reminded of the much bigger picture and community The Guest House fits into, and grounding to have wisdom spoken into the life of the project from our elders at this enormously transitional point. 

Wes Jackson said, ‘We have to proceed by rigor, not by recipe.’   I honestly can’t think of a more encouraging sentence to be applied to this point in our lives.

So we continue by rigor and by imagination. 

Alexa and Bryan returned to our home in the valley last night and I will join them on Sunday permanently.  We are coming close to our Devoted CSA goal that we set for September 30th and are excited to keep inviting more folks in through the week.  Our harvesting & gleaning work to prepare for next year’s events is an every-day commitment and joy.  And every day I commit to the technical and financial work of ours that will leverage us for the good work to which we have committed.     

Another quote from the weekend was one of W.H. Auden’s: “We must love each other, or die.” So we commit to love each other and for that to be the driver of our hospitality, our farming, and our work.  

seth o'donovan