The land here is beautiful, the house sits snug next to the sea and is given plenty of land out on its back side. There's a garden, pond, wood shed, garage, chicken coop, compost, a line of fruit trees, forest, room to roam and a field for the sheep. The sheep field connects to the neighbors, whom the Wilkinson's share the larger plot of land with. The sheep roam freely and come up and down the rocky forest hillside. The chickens also have their wandering and the dog Mossy is faithful in herding them to and fro.
The day was spent almost all outside, except for our slow morning eating breakfeast, a short time of singing which I accidentally missed, and a noon time siesta. Spending so much time outside helped ground and reconnect me.
I spent most of this day pruning fruit trees with the two Lydia's. It was at first so satisfying, freeing the trees of all their extra weight, "like a hair cut" said one of the Lydia's as we lopped off branches. Our "hair cuts" were often quite dramatic and left many of the trees looking very bare. After an hour or more I started to be saddened by all the pruning, it felt almost discouraging to think of all the work these trees had done that I was just lopping off. There was a term I learned for many of the branches I cut off; that term is 'suckers'. Suckers grow straight up towards the sky. They are called 'suckers' because they take away energy from the tree as they have to push hard against gravity to grow the direction they do. What I've learned about pruning is that the mind and aim of a pruner is to bear the most fruit. That's it. In the end, the tree exists to give its fruit, not to look pretty or provide shade (that's what non-fruit bearing trees are for). So, every decision that is made, no matter how small or large, is made to help the tree produce more fruit.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." -John 15:1-2
As I was undergoing these major pruning procedures, it created some space for self-reflection and an awareness of just how much in me may need to be tended to as the vine-dresser tends to his branches.
Every time I'm in nature I find so many opportunities to learn about the way of life. Nature has that way of creating space for revelation, for urging it on, almost. That is part of why I was so excited to be at the Wilkinson's for a weekend. But let me move on now and explain some more of what you'll see below.
One of the major tasks our group took on was, in a way, an experiment. In the Wilkinson's pond there was an algae growing at an extremely rapid pace, or so it seemed. So our job was to try and take out as much of this algae as we could, both because the Wilkinson's didn't want it in there, and because I think they wanted to see at what speed it really was growing. The algae you'll see below is pinkish red in color and our group was quite creative in our technique of extracting it from the pond. With many hands on deck a good deal of work was done and some good progress was made, but in the end it was a task that seemed nearly impossible to perfectly execute. The pictures below will tell you of the fun that was had attempting the project.