Our Farm Grandma Jenn Wolfe is still in Hawaii. This makes complete sense; we support her staying with her kids and grandkids in her usual winter home. Why travel from a tropical paradise to the cold and rainy nucleus of the coronavirus outbreak? But "shelter-in-place" has made it clear how much we miss her.
This homestead needs all ages present. This homestead needs elders and youngers, just like the rich ecology of the forest. Have you seen a tree plantation where all the trees are the same height? Few birds sing in a forest like that. I've lived in even-aged stands of people. Now, having farm residents spanning ages from 6 to 68, there is a new feeling of energy and support. Jenn paved the way for this diversity.
God bless all the clueless young folks I've lived with--myself included. But when Jenn showed up three years ago and began spontaneously washing dishtowels and fixing leaky faucets, I realized what I had been missing.
Jenn shrugs off our praise. "I was a householder for 50 years," she says. "Now it's nice to just putz around." At 72 years old, she uses her energy effectively in the zillion tasks that require steady attention: eggs washed and put in cartons, milking buckets and jars left sparkling clean, and repairs of all sorts from squeaky doors to heavy hearts. A farm elder provides a path for me to follow, a role model of aware, engaged, loving elderhood. "No job too small," said another beloved elder, Walt Hoesel, and I think I'm starting to see what he meant. It's about bringing the greatest love to every task.
I don't know when global circumstances will allow Jenn back to Hawthorn Farm. But I do know that it feels good to live in a household where elders are valued for the many ways they share experience and love. As I soften to my life's accumulating years, I am touched by the humility and grace that radiates from the elders I know. Think of and thank the elders in your life today.