The Land Wants a Real Planting

The Land Wants a Real Planting

To all the friends of this work, and to all those who still believe in a better day: Armloads of thanks as always for your encouragement and your passion for our Orphan Wisdom projects.

The great surge towards summer, towards growth and heat and all things green has been fitful and hesitant, and it has routinely pulled the plug on all manner of plans for planting and buiding here. This is probably true for you too. Then, suddenly, after two warning frosts that drove all seedlings underground again, the sun blisters the earth and we are scrambling to make sure not much gets lost. There are young bears among the bee hives – which usually means that something will die – and young blue corn in the field.

‘We ask for signs’, Leonard Cohen sang, “The signs were sent.” People check in with us with news of quiet dissarray from all corners. Whispers of permanent change – a strong phrase – are on many lips. You hear them all, you let some in, you think your thoughts, and then what?

Here, we asked sixty people – including all The River’s People of The Orphan Wisdom School – to bless our fields and animals, so that all manner of life might live. The land here remains the faithful temperate teacher, unperturbed by the human worry that captivates many of us. We are farmers, which means we obey what Old Woman Earth asks, and try at the same time to strike a deal of planting and harvest that keeps Her fed. So far, so good.

A while ago we had a noble thought, to grow The Orphan Wisdom School out west, in Maui, but many responded to the offer with genuine regret, even chagrin, that the school wouldn’t be held by the shores of the River of Time and Abundance, where it was born. And we see that this seemed to deepen the feelings of homelessness and dislocation that are so much now the common fare of our times.

So we have heard that clearly, and with gusto and a great gratitude to those of you with a capacity to miss what you’ve not yet had we let all of you know that the new class of The Orphan Wisdom School, The Red Sand White Sand People, will be planted here on the land that will feed and house its scholars August 15th – 19th, and will go every August and February over the next few years, that all of you will be welcomed and find a good place among them, that the land here, as always, will recognize your friendly, searching steps to be a clear sign of humans gathered again to put their shoulder to the wheel of fashioning a better day from the current frets and threadbareness, even though they may not see that day. You will join the quietly growing clan of land-wise farmer sages that now fill the learning benches and the banquet hall that has become The Orphan Wisdom School. The door of welcome has swung wide and open to you to learn the mandatory arts of living deeply and dying well. All aboard.

Stephen Jenkinson