Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Last Year I Started Writing...

Last year I started writing. I kept going for about six months. I'm trying to come back to it now. I wrote about 25,000 words, a few chapters that is, of what might someday become a book. Here's a short little excerpt of the first page. Maybe I'll try posting short snippets to see what you think.

I was a child often lost, and yet somehow at home, in the woods. I spent many hours exploring the hills and valleys behind my suburban split entry home. We lived in a development built in the 1970’s outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in what was once thickly wooded land with small farms and homesteads scattered throughout the hills and valleys. The woods I knew were a remnant of what once was. Large red oak and wild cherry trees still stood like a faithful remnant, symbols of a wild and abundant past. Growing up in one myself my dad would complain about the shoddy generic houses built in the late 1970’s, boasting that with hard work he could redeem our split entry. Our suburban streets and cul-de-sacs surrounded what was left of those woods. In the 1980’s pockets of woods remained for deer, raccoons and wild children like me and my friends, constantly trying to hone our instinctual survival skills. Those were the places that the more liberally parented neighborhood kids exercised body and imagination. For one six-year-old boy those woods were a very real extension of home.

Our street bordered on the largest tract of remaining forest where the old Bush farmhouse still stood along with the ancient oaks. I was lucky to have parents that let their children loose for hours at a time on hot summer afternoons. Our woods were like a window into an ancient past surrounded by suburban neighborhood roads, a fairly large tract of land, big enough to still get lost in, big enough for a young boy to explore for hours.

My time in those woods began when my parents took my little sister, our German Shepherd Dog, and me for long walks deep on the trails and muddy dirt roads of the woods. My six year old mind stored our walks. It’s funny what gets permanently imprinted on our brains, especially at such a young age. I remember walking in autumn, the smell of the cool, damp forest floor, the bright orange color of the fallen maple leaves, and the down-filled vest I wore to keep warm. Maybe that’s where the story begins for me, about as far back as I can remember, when senses of smell and touch imprinted more heavily on my brain’s cerebral cortex than any visual or intellectual attempt. This story began when I first recognized a deep love and connection to the natural world. We all have that connection, created within us, looking to be expressed in any myriad of ways.

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