Over the long stretch of life, moments arise that are seemingly too large to comprehend in the present. Most often they are personal; occasionally they impact a society, a culture, perhaps even an entire species. We are in such a moment. Though devastating in its consequences for our species, the coronavirus pandemic has allowed space for most non-sapiens to express life more fully, for the air to clear, for birdsong to rise in quiet streets, for hooves and paws to tread in places where shoes and tires once dominated.
Many of us have had no option except to pause, to stop the mad rush of day-to-day demands of “living” in this world of our shared creation. This is a gift. We have been given a rare opportunity to reflect on what matters when the veil of distraction is drawn aside and we can observe with clarity the reality of the story we have been telling ourselves. For those who would allow themselves see it as such, it is a profound truth-telling exercise.
If the pause is long enough, it will create an opportunity to reset mental patterns and to reimagine how we might live within the capacity of this sapphire sphere as engaged and beneficial participants in our planet’s evolution. Gestational times such as this can be confusing and scary, and they call upon us to trust that there is something larger at work, that we will one day look back at this time and see that it was a calling, an opportunity to shift course, to build a future for those for whom we will, one day, be ancestors. We will want them to speak well of us, to tell stories of how we did not fold back into old patterns as the broken pieces of what we had made—the constructs of society and ways of life that we believed would always be there—were shattered under the pressure of the mighty invisible.
Courage is the path that invites us, change is the heart’s desire, love of this life, of this Earth, of each other and of the wild ones that are also our family propels us. We at Deep Dirt Institute are changing as well, our trajectory suddenly halted, all programs closed for the foreseeable future. This summer one program continues, Women [Who] Grow Food, gathering and working safely in twos and threes, precautions in place.
The dissolving of the independent nonprofit Deep Dirt Institute will become an expansion as our programs are shifted to our sister organization, Borderlands Restoration Network, with whom we have partnered since its inception. There we can weather this change together, imagine, gestate, and continue to support this vital place. We will be ready to invite you in as this storm passes, and we will need you more than ever to be part of this movement. We will ask you to dream and imagine with us as well; your stories are vital and we will want to hear them.
There is strength in coming together; the weaving grows a little tighter, the fabric stronger with time. With more hearts, more hands, more dreams guiding a workable vision that will deepen our engagement, our connection with this place and between our diverse communities will grow stronger. With this vision, engagement and work, we will cultivate the sense of belonging that will allow us to face the larger challenge ahead: the future of all life on Earth.
I offer a deep bow of gratitude to all of you who have been part of making Deep Dirt Institute and campus what it is. Your participation and generosity is our shared story. I see you in rainwater caught in structures you built to recharge groundwater, in the donated materials our gabions are built of, and in the dirt they have collected from runoff. I see you in fences, gates and kiosks, in the butterflies that drink nectar from flowers you planted and in grasses clutching soil in place, disguising all of the hidden deer but its vigilant ears. I also extend my thanks to our Board President, Executive Director and our board members for their extraordinary dedication, as they carried a full load and grew our work and thus our impact in the world. They, as you, have been a gift.
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