In many of our lessons around the farm, we encourage our visitors to see the rocks, trees and animals around us as sentient beings, deserving of our love and attention. Though this comes naturally with dogs and horses, some among us have a harder time empathizing with ‘inanimate’ parts of the farm – like the trees or rocks. So, to really change the way we see these parts of our farm, we want to take time with these things. There is a quote by Elaine Scarry which explains well our view on how quality time helps us better understand what the things around us have to offer. She says: “Perhaps no one who attends closely to artifacts is wholly free of the suspicion that they are, though not animate, not quite inanimate.” We believe the same is true of things found in nature. And, if folks can learn to see the life behind the trees and rocks, we hope they can next learn to respect this nature.
So, this week, we are encouraging you to go out and make friends with a tree. Learn her name, the feel of her bark, and the shape of her leaves. Take time for a picnic against her trunk or in the shade of her leaves. Even during the time of social distancing, you can give your new tree friend a hug! To help our Head Start preschoolers learn how to make friends with a tree, we have made a video for them in which I spend some quality time with my favorite tree on the farm – an old Beech tree named Eartha. Watch the video here!