Another new town. . .another parking lot layover. I hit the phone and bang-out emails as if my life depends upon it. And it does, really – because I’m out here to make the most of my time. . .to find ways to create the biggest impact on an organization, a locale, and the world at large. Though many ‘get it’ – there are also those who don’t, and I sometimes find myself making the hard-sell. . .repeatedly.
Well, today is one of those times. . .and surrounded by the same-ole Walmart pavement, I’m wondering a bit where the ‘collective’ is. . .what’s my real impact in each place. . .and if I am actually connecting anyone. . .
But it’s fortunate that this is a day when I must write. . .because I get to re-live my stop at The Root Farm – a place I didn’t want to leave. . .one with an extraordinary energy, and where I hope I made some lasting friends.
After 2 days there, one thing was clear – this was a team who did more for me than I could possibly do for them. But if you read about their mission – it’s no wonder. You’ll see - the learning. . .the healing. . .they are real in this setting. And outside of maybe an inner circle – I struggle to remember ever feeling as welcomed or included as I did with this bunch. . .
They’ve so much to offer everyone, and they’re in the process of adding even more awesome-ness; you’ll just have to pay ‘em a visit. Potato-diggin’, animal care, ropes-course hi-jinx. . .the activities will certainly stick with me.
But what’s more – the people. That’s why I went, and they are why I fell in love. . .
Becky seemed all for it from the start. She was my first contact there, and if she hadn’t taken me seriously – I’d have truly missed out. I’m not sure what she said or did to help organize such a welcome – but I’m grateful to her for that. She’s a sweet, compassionate Lady and I wish we had spent more time together. (Maybe next go-around, Becky???) Until then, I’ll think of her every time I’m grocery shopping (that’s an inside reference, Folks – no time to explain!).
Not long after arriving – I met Alexis. Who – I can only assume – must have somehow conspired with Becky to make a convincing case for my ‘invitation’ to the farm. I hope she doesn’t regret it; she’s the one who babysat me most. Now – where do I start with this woman? Amazing personal stories aside – her professional role at the farm is no less impressive. And though hard to define, exactly – let’s just say that her dedication to and passion for art, animals, people - is inspirational to say the least. (But she’s wrong about chicken-herding, or maybe just no good at-it. . .)
After pettin’ a few horsies – I spent the remainder of my first morning with Farmer Paul. Newest to the crew – his humor and enthusiasm are what stood out most to me. He taught me some things about dirt and a green-thumb, we shared stories of where we’ve been, and we whistled while we worked. Try to get a hold of some of his carrots, btw – they’re delicious! (Just not the purple ones, right Paul?)
Next - we have Rodger. They call him the horse-whisperer. There were no horses around where we chatted, so I can’t exactly verify that. Oh wait – I don’t think I’d know it if I saw it, anyway. But what I did see is a kind and passionate guy who has been around the farm more than a little while now. I envy him for what he gets to do every day. On second thought – I envy everyone at the farm, really. . .
As the morning flew-by, I chatted with Adam – outdoor education expert, part-time adventurer, and rock-climber extraordinaire. (Did I get that right, man?) Once the rock-wall is built - I’m goin’ back, and I’m hoping maybe he can teach me a thing or two.
Then there was Dan – retired Veteran and all-around interesting dude. I’m hoping he becomes instrumental in additional programs at the farm - for members of our armed forces. (Maybe he could also teach a dance class or two?)
Up next is Shane. Only one thing to say about him, ‘cause it’ll blow your mind. This guy is paraplegic and rides a motorcycle. Correction – this guy is paraplegic; he rides a motorcycle hard and fast. . .like he’s wringing every last drop out of life. I got inspiration goosebumps just talking to him. I’m hopin’ he bottles that and releases it in a TED Talk someday. . .
And so – we arrive at Jeremy – the leader of this GREAT clan. . .he was my grand-tour guide and positivity cohort. We’re gonna work together on something, sometime. . .I just know it.
I’ve written a bit about big thinking in my days on the road so far. And if I continue to meet people like Jeremy – you guys might grow weary as I keep beating the big-thinking horse (no pun intended – this being an actual farm and all.).
Jeremy’s vision is huge. It’s communal. It’s fun! And when he’s not at the helm – he’s right there in it. . .a part of it. . .just as much a grateful guest as he is a gracious host. He knows the power and beauty of this place. He helped harness those and package them into an experience which, once shared, plants itself within your very being.
Root Farm is a part of him. A part of his team. A part of anyone who visits. A part of me, now.
And with its namesake – should that come as any surprise?