Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Everything feels noisy and chaotic after spending two weeks in the tranquility of the farm and woodland places pictured above. I woke early this morning to meditate, pray and read (as I learned to do every morning for at least 30 minutes while I was on the farm) and sitting out on our back deck I felt utterly distracted by all the noise: the squeak of the swamp cooler, the clink of the shovels and muddled voices of my neighbors doing yard work, the rattling of machinery as construction continues on that ugly new bank building that is towering above the trees a few blocks away, the sounds of cars, motorcycles and garbage trucks and the distant whistle of a train. I am sure it will only take a few days for those noises to blend back into a muffled and innocuous hum, but today it felt jolting after coming from such a quiet place.

The farm I went to was located in rural upstate New York. In the poorest rural county in the state. It was a founded in the Catholic Worker tradition--a movement started by journalist/activist/anarchist and devout Catholic, Dorothy Day. I've only read a little about her (I'd like to get my hands on a good biography)--but hanging on a wall in the barn was her photograph with this quote written beneath it: "all of our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system."
That seems an apt summary of the spirit of the movement.

It always feels a difficult task to somehow break down, compress and summarize things into a neat row of pictures and words. I am not sure I know how.

It may take me a few days (or weeks) to collect myself and my thoughts, but I do hope to write a series of posts covering my time on the farm and all of the things I learned and discovered.