Visit to Sunrise Farm

“I come into the peace of wild things…For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

-Wendell Berry

I was created to be on the land it is part of me and I am part of it in that I am reliant on the land for my survival. My soul is free and at peace when I come into nature and wild places. It is a natural place to be.

Don Ruzicka speaks to how he feels the Spirit in the land, in the sunflowers, in the diversity and in the wild places. It is true his land has Spirit. It is healthy and happy land that nourishes healthy and happy humans and animals. The land is made right, in that it is being cared for naturally and sustainably. This makes it truly alive. Years ago Don and Marie began their journey to make peace with the land and it has become a part of them. Don claims that this natural wild area that he has restored is the reparation for his sins in plowing the land and destroying habitat when he was a conventional farmer trying to squeeze the most possible from the earth. But now he refuses to jeapordize the health of the land and will not over-use it. Don says that everything that gives Spirit to the land is lost when one tries to max out the land.

I could have stayed there forever. I wish we had more time on the farm and could have spent some time walking around by ourselves in order to be able to better observe the land after we had breifly experienced it through the stories of Don. To be alone in the land is to be able to see and hear things that one wouldn’t otherwise be able to see and hear and we learn to experience and love the land more deeply like someone like Aldo Leopold.

What I struggle with the most is that I am confronted with my complete ignorance when it comes to farming and caring for the landwhen I meet people like Don and Marie. How can the knowledge and experience that they have from years of caring for the land be shared with others. How can I learn from them and not make the same mistakes in my journey with the land? I was so encouraged to hear that Don is seeking to educate people and that he wants to leave a “manuel” for his land to whoever cares for it after him.  After the need to be more educated the next obstacle that I face when I am insprised by farmers like the Ruzicka’s is access to land. How do I ever afford land while still choosing to support myself with work that is ethical and fulfilling?