Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Little Farm in Virginia

There is a little farm out east that has never truly been home, but where I have long felt a connection. I have only ever lived there for four months and none of that at one shot. The first time I was there, some 26 years ago, the place had just been built. The trees were newly planted and small. The buildings formed a little grouping and there were only a few families gathered there to learn about living in other cultures a world away. Snakes were occasionally found near or in the buildings, they still thought it was their home. There was a plaque on a wall where my brother’s name was written, money had been given in his name so that this place could exist. After eight weeks we left for the ends of the earth.

Since then I have been back three times. The trees have grown and the buildings have multiplied. Thousands have called it a temporary home on their way to all corners and all tongues. There is a science and a method to what they do there but in essence it is still a place where people leave all that they know and become family with people they will only briefly meet. A lot is the same: the plaque, the colors, the hot gym and the quiet lake. After three decades a whole lot more has changed.

It used to feel like a small family place. Now it seems as though there are too many who have gone through its halls. From without it probably looks like a strange place, a compound, a radical undertaking. After all, not many feel the urge to leave a home in search of the foreign; not just to change the place where we make a new home, but to be changed just as much by another way of viewing things. From provincial to international, from clear to confusing, from easy to complex. And it all started on a little farm in Virginia.

1 comment:

  1. Good memories, Jason, though not quite three decades.
    I'd forgotten about the plaque dedicated to Josh...I'll mention it to Mother, or you can.


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