Spring 2019 Newsletter
It is such a delight to be sending this Spring newsletter. So much to share, so many great things happening on this hillside. The stories that follow are a testimony to Sun Hill Farm being a hub of conscious care for the land and the living. Sun Hill is also a Home for many, a place where we find rest, nourishment and integration. Finally, we hear about the last workshop we hosted, emphasizing Sun Hill’s important role as a retreat, a place for learning and collaboration.
This Spring newsletter includes four stories.
First, a video where Justin introduces himself as the new steward of this working landscape. He and his family are moving back East after many years in Arizona. Their farming enterprise includes vegetables, chickens (layers and broilers) and beef.
Then, we hear from Monica Horowitz. Monica has called Sun Hill home for the last year and is getting ready to leave for new adventures in the Far East. In this beautiful piece of prose, she shares with us the visceral experience of living on this land.
Over the past years, Paul and Bonnie have hosted many Way of Council trainings at Sun Hill. Their organization, the New England Council Collective, has become an integral part of Sun Hill Farm. They reflect here on the training they hosted this past month.
Finally, we share an homage to our dear friends Lyla and Bella who have lived with and delighted us for many years. Their presence on the farm was more than a delight, they were part of this fabric, of this home. Sadly, they both parted this past winter. In the last section, we include photos taken by their best pal and caretaker extraordinaire, Ruthie Sessions.
I wish you delight and connection in reading/watching these stories.
Justin, Sun Hill Farm Agripreneur
We welcome Justin Bramhall and his family to Sun Hill Farm. To learn more about their enterprise, visit their website at https://leapingbearfarm.eatfromfarms.com/
By Monica Horowitz
I sat on the porch with my feet hanging down and legs swinging. I looked out at the green-tipped everything, the cloud rolling in, the people between doors, the patient dog, the sun on my lap. I listened to the sounds of three men working—fuzz on the radio, tools swinging from a belt, the saw, the nail in place, the sound of one length of cut and tossed lumber landing on another. Robins hopped lightly on the lawn. Red-winged blackbirds sounded from their marshy perches. The back door opened loudly to the day. The whole hive was humming with activity, and the cattle stood boldly on the crest of the ridge.
I exchanged the liveliness of this plot of life for the quietness of another. In the ravine in the woods, wild garlic has spread thick across the hillsides. Light shifts on the forest floor and everywhere is still, until the wind kicks up last year’s leaves and drops them again towards the south. I know no better peace than here, and here is often where my wandering takes me, until an undertow draws me down to the brook below the trail, where green moss brightens the slope, where the wet rises white from the banks, where I can stay watching water riding water.
Where the water goes still, peepers hide around the edges. Their eggs hang like moons in a black pool; their song shines and winks like stars do; a celestial chorus; a Song of Songs.
This evening, I sank into the music. The stone was a hand behind my head. The cold pull embraced me.
Walking home, I got tangled up in the shadow of a maple tree. I now understand I will never lose myself from it; our snag is beyond undoing.
Last night I slept in the center of the circle yurt. Under the arm of the hickory tree, I dreamed it was day, and the black bull was trudging heavy around my sleeping place, his mighty head tilting right-side, one horn to the canvas wall, scraping along the wall.
My eyes opened to the night. No bull. Just wind lifting colored flags. It passed. I heard the cloth settle. I heard the peepers sing their star-song. I heard two owls argue. I cried, and added another kind of song to the night—one dedicated to all I have loved and have belonged to, from the first.
Above me, the hickory was clear under moonlight. I asked for comfort and it settled my heart: I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.
The Way of Council Training
By Paul levasseur and Bonnie Mennel
It was a joy for the New England Council Collective (NECC) to offer its April Council 2 training: Deepening the Practice in the new yurt on the Sun Hill Farm. As one training participant said: “Sun Hill Farm is a magical place. The land is alive and well aligned with the work of council. Walking it, experiencing the trees, birds, and animals, and entering the majestic views to the horizon all complement the intense work done in circles.”
This council training, co-lead by Paul LeVasseur & Bonnie Mennell, offered a powerful opportunity for participants to deepen their council practice and explore the more complex contours of masterful facilitation. The weekend is geared toward participants who have taken a Council I training and have been facilitating Council for some time and have had some direct experience with the inspiring, and sometimes challenging, situations that arise – including encountering resistance, conflict and "The Shadow." Facilitators may also be starting to look at some personal obstacles and "blind spots" that have shown up in their development as a practitioner, as well as the need for greater fluency in self-regulation and grounding, for themselves and in their work with groups.
NECC will be offering two Council 1 trainings at Sun Hill Farm in the coming months: one June 14 – 16, and another October 18 - 20. We will also be hosting a one-day Gathering of Council Facilitators at the home of Kirstin Edelglass, the third certified council Trainer with NECC, on July 28. Our next Council 2 training will be offered in April 2020. Visit our website for more information on any of these upcoming opportunities at www.necouncilcollective.org or contact us at email@example.com.
Lyla lived joyfully among us here at the farm for over thirteen years.
She kept track of everyone, every creature, and was my sweet and constant companion.
October 23, 2005 - January 11, 2019
Bella came to the farm when she was about 9 years old in June, 2002. She was a great teacher for me and became a beloved friend. She died on January 26, 2019.
The story behind our Logo
We love our Logo! It was created and carved by artist Amy Anselmo from Bennington, Vermont. Check out this cool time lapse video of the logo carving process...