The World Has Need of You
seems to need us
Rainer Maria Rilke
I can hardly imagine it
as I walk to the lighthouse, feeling the ancient
prayer of my arms swinging
in counterpoint to my feet.
Here I am, suspended
between the sidewalk and twilight,
the sky dimming so fast it seems alive.
What if you felt the invisible
tug between you and everything?
A boy on a bicycle rides by,
his white shirt open, flaring
behind him like wings.
It’s a hard time to be human. We know too much
and too little. Does the breeze need us?
The cliffs? The gulls?
If you’ve managed to do one good thing,
the ocean doesn’t care.
But when Newton’s apple fell toward the earth,
the earth, ever so slightly, fell
toward the apple.
Like a beggar
A poem left by my side as I joined the group meditation late and stayed later. Love and ocean and tears when I think of those eyes. Full of light. Full of truth. Of sadness, of might, of days and night and music and trees and herbs and squirrels.
This poem says it all. The inspiration, the depth, the difficulty, the worth. A depth which penetrated me to the core and intensely affected me there after. So much so that although there have been lack of resources and demands in shift of my attention; I have shrieked from writing about the Listening Tree Coop. I sweetly love this place, love its founders. Wish to do justice to its truth. Know I am not up to the task. This magnificent place in Chepatchet Rhode Island, we stayed at for about a week if that. How could I possibly justly relay its truth? When I know, sense, and have experienced, an element of how deep it goes.
On the tour this summer, the G4G crew traveled to many different communities. Yes, most have an interest in sustainability. Perhaps more accurately most have a mission they are striving to carry out. And we wish to help them. This mission takes many different facets. As an anthropologist I do not believe I can accurately comprehend, capture and relay the ideas, driving forces, dreams, feelings, position of each place given the amount of time spent there.
Jim introduced himself to the Revivalists as “in recovery from 20 years of political activism”.
I would say of all the farms, communities we visited, Listening Tree Coop displayed the most beautiful, organized, functioning leadership. As soon as we arrived, we were introduced to the farm, to the desires of the community, to what the guidelines were, utilities were; we were introduced to all the residents in an open, relational and meaningful way. We were given a short but all inclusive presentation of what Listening Trees is :
To “recreate culture that supports the best in humans, that make it easy to be good. Balancing of privacy and community : kitchen, farm, land, “a space for everybody and things to share”. On the spiritual level, Listening Trees is all inclusive, “people can practice what they practice, do what they do”. There is no group practice at the moment.
I would venture to say, the Listening Tree Coop is where we learned the most. Maybe this is simply because I was personally struck so deeply by this community.
However, I do believe that the founders have such depth, true knowledge, experience of the world, humans, art, living forces, leadership, love, philosophy, kindness, music… that in my mind they remain untouchable.
Unlike other farms and communities we visited, there was no dehumanizing of the volunteers. By this I mean the expectation for Revivalists to either be who you are (adhere to a specific lifestyle, work schedule or value) or to be what you are missing : initiative, leadership, creativity, strength… Yes We desire to be of service! I observed that there was much frustration however in false hopes, expectations not being met or in forgetting that volunteers need rest, rejuvenation. That a sustainable lifestyle starts today every day and encompasses the physical, emotional, spiritual aspects of life and living. This means taking time for self, taking time for community, taking time for healing each day.
Jim and Karina were so full of grace. Showering us with affection, with space and time to heal, never speaking in frustration.
Here we saw the best compost toilet system and were gifted plans for one, went on many medicinal herb walks and given many specific identification types, we were gifted food to take with us… I think that we were gifted the vision of what strong foundations can offer. Here, love can grow.
I’m not sure exactly what it is, still to this day. But a part of my heart was truly pierced at this farm. In the most beautifully painful way. In the way in which only ardent seekers of truth can understand. The way in which you love so much and would burn for that love and need for all things to be united, for the wind in the trees to be heard and the grass under your feet to be felt and the smile in sad faces to be seen and the tears in happy hearts to be known.
Pulling weeds, tending to the garden. Karina spoke of her life. Of Listening Trees. What did I expect, seeking to interview an interviewer: through this interaction, I found myself moved within a place of my own. Not wanting to move forward but wanting to truly sit with this feeling. “Do you meditate?”
“I have not been” I replied. Self observation without judgment.
She stroke chords within me, far off that have not been played for so long, blood dried upon them.
She spoke of beat poets and post carbon transition, handing me st john’s wart and self heal to put in my hair;
“You have the power to heal yourself”.
And let us not forget that this was also the only place where there was provided organic, gluten free, vegan food at every meal, cooked with much much love and intention! Grateful for you Lizzy! And to Johnathan who spent most of his time in the kitchen 🙂
(that night we had OMaZen tacos!!!)