Writing about gratitude feels too small to capture the past week for us, but still, it captures what Holly and I are feeling today as we pack up to move on. We have spent the past week – including a genuinely sublime Thanksgiving feast – at Cobbtown Acres, a new homestead for nomads in the heart of the cotton fields of Georgia. This post is about people, how their spirits, like the strings of wind chimes, let them fly, pull them back to earth, wear and break, and get rebuilt in the company of good people.
This past week has taught us deeply that we belong out here, and that we have much to learn – and we hope, teach – among nomads, some of whom have been at this for decades. The words below are not written to tell others’ stories. That’s not my place. They are here to try to capture the alchemy that happens when people who are often alone and living with their own “feast of losses” find themselves gathered around a campfire that – like Jimmy’s – doesn’t go out.
Even before we got to Cobbtown Acres, we knew we would be humbled in some way we couldn’t yet know. I couldn’t have predicted, though, to what depth. One family taught me that it is possible to make “every stone on the road precious”. Their interplay of togetherness, individuality, giving, recovering, reconciling and above all, making a home stir in me things I thought settled. I’m not readily willing to do that, and that’s why, weeks ago, I needed the company of these future friends.
Others here won’t be named, but they were here. The “scavenger angels” make me pause, gather myself, and move on.
The phrases in quotes are from “The Layers” by Stanley Kunitz. Y’all should read it.
Photos by Holly Whiting, except photo of Rich, by Norm Flowers