|In this uncertain time many of us are considering what home means to us. Perhaps you have had time on your daily walks to look around and ask yourself why you’ve chosen to live in this place, wherever that place is for you.|
I’ve spent some time thinking about why Vermont is home to me. On the most basic level, Vermont is home because it is where I feel most like myself. I love the natural landscape, the forests and the mountains. I also love the people.
I think one of the reasons why this time feels so challenging for me, and perhaps for you, is because I’m not able to connect easily with others. Whether it is to stop and speak with someone at the farmers market or lend assistance to someone in need. I’ve been wondering, how do we create community when we can’t gather in the usual ways?
Then a friend sent me something written by Wendell Berry in What Matters? Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth that was published in 2010. Berry captures it perfectly, as usual, when he says: “A good community insures itself by trust, by good faith and good will, by mutual help.”
And I realize that I see this type of community. I see good will when I observe my neighbors still working at the local store so we can continue to eat. I see others making deliveries or sharing items that are hard to find. I see people in Vermont caring for our older citizens. So, while some connection is lost in this crisis, something is found through different kinds of mutual help.
The other part of that same passage by Wendell Berry is: “A good community, in other words, is a good local economy.” Maybe the point that Berry is making is that we can create community at whatever scale is possible. I’ll find my own meaning and community by supporting my local stores and by a warm (long distance) smile when I’m out walking. Even if the connection or my contribution is small, I hope it matters.
I’ll continue to do my own craft of making jewelry that emulates place. If you care about similar places, I hope my work comforts you in some way. If it does, please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your note, however short, will be welcome. This way we’ll be taking part in mutual help.
Wendell Berry would be proud.