Sunday, May 5, 2013

Springing Back & Forth

I'm in Springfield MO, midway through representing Sandhill Farm at the Baker Creek Spring Planting Festival, held today and tomorrow (that's right, a rare Sunday/Monday gig) at the home of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mansfield MO—about 60 crow miles east of the motel room where I'm typing this blog.

Oddly enough, though I've been a resident of the Show-Me State for 39 years, and Springfield is our third largest city, this is the first time I've ever done more than drive through it at 60 mph. It's 300 miles from home and I hardly ever come this way.

While the calendar says it's May (happy Cinco de Mayo!), the weather was stuck in the 50s today with everyone strolling by our booth in windbreakers, earmuffs, and woolen caps. Friday, for the first time in living memory, they had a May snow shower in Joplin, which is in extreme southwest Missouri. Ufda. Last year it was warmer than this in March, and I have the eerie sensation that the seasons are running backwards.

[While I was only home about 13 hours between my recent East Coast consulting foray and this trip as a purveyor of Sandhill's organic food products, it was long enough to poke around in the woods for two-and-a-half hours wildcrafting morels (I was able to snag nearly three pounds of these delicate little beauties). While spring's emergence seems delayed this year, the mushrooms are making their appearance in line with historical averages. I'm keenly interested to see what's still out there when I return home Wed. I'll be ecstatic if this unseasonably cool weather translates into a prolonged morel season.]

Here in Springfield we've been promised (by the weather gurus) temperatures tomorrow "soaring" into the upper 60s, with occasional glimpses of sunshine. We can hardly wait.

While it's always good for Sandhill to experiment with different fairs to see which ones are good for our product mix, sales were desultory today ($285 in gross intake doesn't justify driving 300 miles one way) and I doubt we'll be back next year. I was persuaded to try this mainly because it was an excuse to hang out with my good friend, Ira Wallace, who I've known since my very first community conference 34 years ago.

Ira was selected as the 2014 recipient of the FIC's Kozeny Communitarian Award, which honors someone's lifetime achievements as a community builder. In addition to peddling sorghum this weekend (and catching up on inter-community gossip), it's my pleasure to spend time collecting sufficient details about Ira's life that I can craft the citation for her award. Some tasks are more pleasurable than others, and this assignment is one I'm genuinely looking forward to.

Among other things, Ira & I have each:
o  Lived in community for about four decades (though never in the same one, we've always lived in secular income-sharing communities that have been affiliated with the Federation of Egalitarian Communities.

o  Been involved deeply in community networking, often enough at the same time.

o  Been entrepreneurial and have helped start successful community businesses.

o  Developed a capacity for public speaking and blogging.

o  Developed a fondness for playing bridge.

[For more on Ira and her amazing life, see this interview from in the current issue of Communities magazine.]

So it's always fun to hang out with Ira an find out what she's been up to. A conversation with her can warm me even on a blustery day when the outdoor temperatures are running well south of our ages. It represents both a springing back (to any number of stimulating conversations we've shared over the years), and a springing ahead where we grizzled community veterans can dispassionately discuss what it will take to replace us, and the key role we can play in greasing the skids for our successors.

It turns out that busy people never really run out of work; we just run out of time.

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