March 03, 2010
We forget the value of our neighbors, sometimes. When we do, remembering often flows back like the rush of an ocean wave. There’s been such a rush in the last few days. Birthing began two days ago and one mother after the next has started kidding. There is nothing quite like Kidding. Kids and does together struggling for new life outside the womb is an incredible moment to watch. Then there is nothing like the first breath, first steps, first milk, and the first sleep of a newborn. Watching is greatly enhanced when there isn’t a worry of having to clean a pen or getting a panel in place. That is where neighbors make a difference!
During Christmas break, a group came to the farm from the First United Methodist Church in Watsonville, California. For a week, six youth and two adults joined us hiking on the local refuge where we saw weasels, anthills, beaver sign, wild horses, and hawks. We toured the farm and talked about soil, plants, animals, the wind, and how these are theologically important in our lives (amazing comments come from twelve to fifteen-year-olds!). We made loaf bread one day, tortillas another, and fry-bread a third day, and talked about culture on the reservation and back home in Watsonville. But what brings them to mind today is the help they gave in cleaning the nursery barn.
With kids getting their legs under them, mothers wiped out trying to keep their eyes open, and “to be” mother goats waddling like ducks; it makes such a difference to have had help preparing the nursery space. With straw down, a heat lamp overhead, mothers are comfortable and kids are getting the rest newborns need. And it is all because of neighbors from a landscape far away from the Yakima valley. Today, it is good to remember neighbors live across the fence as well as mountain ranges away. Remembering neighbor is remembering we cannot live life by ourselves and be whole. Quite time is great. Alone time is needed. But the work of life cannot be done without neighbor.