My days off over the past year and a half have been spent working on numerous tasks around the farm, store, and studio. Tasks needing to be finished, updated, dressed up, etc…. while giving me the opportunity to contemplate and begin to put understanding and perhaps some meaning to the loss that we all, at one point in our lives, have to deal with. My farms have been a  blessing through all of this. Giving me the freedom and space to work, cry, and randomly yell out loud. The animals and the land quietly offering me the space I needed and offering patience through it all. 

I have always been of the mindset that things happen and or come to us for a reason. We don’t always have to understand it, but rather know that there is something bigger than the life we live on this earth that shares and guides us in the path we are leading.  

Throughout this same time, my children are home; doing remote work and learning while also dealing with, not only the same family loss but that sense of normalcy in their own lives.  A weekly reminder of gratitude and appreciation for what we have rather than what we don’t have is spoken of; glad for abundances that so many others don’t have. 

In the meantime, my goal and energy continue to be put into that place that I call my classroom. A place where people can come to get nourishment; not only for the physical body through food but also the spirit. Creating a place that farms have the ability to do. Feeling the love and energy that is created each day through hard work, perseverance, and gratitude for all. Nezinscot, which means “A place to gather upon” is that magical place. It is the classroom that allows me to continue to grow as a person while enabling others the opportunity to do the same.  

A story to remember/Ancestral Learning: 

July 3rd, 2020 marked a year since my son Roy passed away. As the time neared that anniversary,  a friend stopped in at the North Farm to offer some condolence. Having also lost a son, he knew the emotions around that type of loss and wanted to just say he was thinking of us.  Following that, he asked what I had been doing for Roy? An odd question, but I knew there was a meaning behind it. I told him I had been writing to Roy for a year. Writing as if he were away at college and offering updates of what we were doing at the farm and wishing him well.  I also mentioned that as of recently, something inside me said I had to stop writing for a year and offer up some prayers to the sky and to say goodbye. I also knew I needed to remove the “Thank You Roy” from our outdoor sign.  

Nezinscot Farm Store sign

After explaining these feelings to him, he shared with me a tradition of some of the native cultures that he was familiar with. In these cultures, when someone passed away from their tribe, an individual would be chosen as “The Soul Keeper”. His/her job was to share stories and memories as well as gathering stories from others of the deceased as a way to honor his/her spirit. After a year, a celebration was held and offerings were made to the stars, heavens, and  Gods of this particular individual; wishing him/her a safe journey to the afterlife. He gave me a hug and went on his way. 

I arrived home that afternoon and sat on the front porch with Gregg; quietly rocking. Before I  could share my encounter and conversation with my friend at the North Farm, Gregg quietly suggested that it was time to remove the “Thank You Roy” from our outdoor sign.  There was a sense of peace that overcame us that night. The kind that tells you that everything is going to be ok. That we weren’t alone and that there are, in fact, others watching over us to help us on our journey.  

Gloria Varney