Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First Impressions

I'm at Fort Myers, and today was my first day here at ECHO. I don't officially begin work until the 6th, so I've got one week to meet everybody and settle in.

So far, I couldn't be more excited to begin. I took a tour of the farm today, including the Monsoon garden which I will eventually manage. I've already seen and learned a number of cool things...
  • I learned how to keep elephants out of a garden (fences, clearly, are ineffectual)
  • I saw a contraption that converts barrels of dung into methane gas, which fills an innertube and then fuels a stove.
  • Saw and tasted the Moringa trees. Very, very cool. I'll have to dedicate a post to them sometime.
Anyway, there's a ton more I could write about but it will have to wait. I've been meeting my fellow interns, and they all seem very cool, and very knowledgeable about subsistence farming.

I haven''t been able to take pictures yet because it's raining, but I promise they are forthcoming!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Setting Out by Wendell Berry
Even love must pass through loneliness,
the husbandman become again
the Long Hunter, and set out
not to the familiar woods of home
but to the forest of the night,
the true wilderness, where renewal
is found, the lay of the ground
a premonition of the unknown.
Blowing leaf and flying wren
lead him on. He can no longer be at home,
he cannot return, unless he begin
the circle that first will carry him away.

I recognize, of course, that Berry's poem is about a far more final "setting out" than my trip to Florida. Nonetheless, I think it's a beautiful picture of leaving home. This is my final week in Marietta before leaving for Fort Myers. I am scheduled to move in to ECHO on the 29th, so I'm quickly running out of time to tie up all my loose ends here: cleaning, voting, friends, odd-jobs around the house that remain unfinished... and packing, at some point!

I'll confess to being a little nervous about starting life in Florida. I recently spoke with one of the other interns, and discovered that he has both an undergraduate and Masters degree in Agriculture, whereas I have no previous exposure to agriculture at all. I'm trusting that the staff didn't make a mistake when they accepted my application; and I know that God is in control of these next couple years of my life.

Needless to say, my digital camera and my laptop will be making the pilgrimage to Florida with me, so I'll try to get pictures and thoughts up soon after I arrive.