I sit in the awe and beauty of this place, its hard work, its community, its hardship. I had never imagined that I would be in service to something that feels so important, to be in service to the young folks who are finding their way here. I have spent the majority of my life traversing the realms of wild spaces, listening to the stories and doing my best to understand what is being transmitted in those spaces. I have also witnessed the stories of addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, longing, beauty, and dreams from all those young ones who have so graciously entrusted me with their stories, and to hear the hope in their confident voices for a better future. I am in gratitude for their gifts, for their strength, for their courage, for their dedication and most of all, for their hope; the hope of entering into such turbulent times with a new plan. They hold the future of what I can only dream of.
Days here at the farm can be long, exhausting and stressful. There are moments filled with mud, humidity, blackflies and physically demanding work. Tending to the growing of food is a process of supporting life and death and for most of us, this connection is lost at the modern grocery store. Farming does not fit the 9 to 5 schedule, it is a way of life, a meditation of the present moment. Working and living together in this environment can be hard, challenging and emotionally draining, which is why we have to find ways to communicate and find solutions to issues that are supportive. We have to understand emotions, feel and claim projections and acknowledge the shadow parts of self. It is heart warrior work and these brave ones who have found themselves here have embraced such a delicate language in deep connection with nature-based dialogue. I am in deep gratitude for their willingness and dedication to such an impossible dream.
The farm is evolving with the apprenticeship program and all of the teachings we are learning from each other as we continue to create this unique project. The stories held here are sacred. I am feeling the gratitude for my mentors and teachers who so beautifully guided me to be in this place and time, and reflect and honour their work as we pass on their teachings and inspiration here at the farm. I send out praise for my time as a youth worker, where I learned how to communicate with parents and youth while navigating a governmental system in fiscal restraints that tried to support those vulnerable ones with perceived impossible challenges. I reflect and honor my time with CanAdventure Education where I went through one of the most transitional periods of my life with all of the amazing and dedicated staff that embraced a vision for young ones and their families in a therapeutic wilderness setting. I am also in deep admiration and praise for those vision fast guides and mentors, who so beautifully helped guide me through the mosaic of puzzle pieces and golden threads that have helped to weave a container that holds the power and beauty of soul, helping me fumble in the dark, uncovering the hidden indigenosity that resides in all of our colonized hearts and minds, waiting for that moment of discovery to live fully again in the wild world. Without their guidance, I would not be here in this time and place to now guide others down this path of nature-based mentoring. I am also in deep gratitude for Annie and Niles who continue to guide in their elder way, inspiring and holding this space for us as we do what we can through blood sweat and tears, hoping beyond hope that this can be a place of cultural re-membering.
We are building community, building systems, and trying to understand how to be in relationship with the natural world while connecting with those deeper parts of self that hold such beautiful gifts to be lived into the world, to be of service to something much larger than ourselves. The projects that are stepped into each day require problem solving, innovation, initiative and dedication, and it is amazing to see how those who said “yes” to this crazy venture are thriving, are living, and are breathing life into something that they are leaving for others to continue.
And this is how the farm is growing, adapting and finding its way into something that has never been seen before on this little piece of land. We found ourselves here through a series of moments that saw us follow a dream and said “yes” to something that felt impossible. There are days that I wake up with feelings of impossibility, and yet one conversation or story or realization from those diving into the depths of self through hard farm work and nature connection feed the “yes” of the vision that brought us here. Learning to grow food, learning about community and holding sacred space for such opportunities are what make this project so beautiful. I am truly blessed to be of service to these young souls and the farm is indebted to their energy, youthfulness, ideas, inspiration, creativeness, tears, laughter and joy, for without them there is no future worth living.
~ Written by William Kosloski