Sometimes life imitates art, and one such time was last Monday.  Walking across the Farmer’s Market driveway last week I tripped over a rise in the road, and fell flat on my face.  That same day I discovered that the buildings we have been trying to purchase have been put under agreement to another entity.
Blargh!  Some days you just need to stay in bed.

But the next day I had to pick myself up.  I had to decide what we were going to do next.  After all, we had just been informed that we had no place to set up the Porch after November 30; the Town had decided to not renew our lease, and there is a movement afoot to tear the building down.  Two of our Board members resigned. The same day of the fall I discovered that two of our Porch vendors were pulling out immediately, and another informed me shortly thereafter that she was moving out too.  Is it worth it?

I had just sent out requests for partners, funders and collaborations.  Was this one of those really great ideas that’s just too good to be true?  My first, bruised instinct was to say yes.  Life would be much easier if I could stay at the farm and make soap, write and dream, except dreaming without action is actually very painful for me.

I looked at the bin of non-perishable food that sits at the foot of my desk, and thought “who would help them?”  I heard about the increase in the cost of corn, gasoline and general necessities, and thought “How do people with cope that?”  I looked at the people who have stood with me, and with NCSC, since the beginning.  Then I got a call from a person who not only wanted to join NCSC, but also wanted to lead fundraisers.  He could see the value of this project and really wants to support it.  So I decided to put away the pity towel and get back to work. Then I thought about people like Ann who has stood by this project with a smile on her face, and never asked for anything out of it except our best effort.  I thought about the farm families I’ve come to know who are struggling to keep their land when the price of grain and gas is making it so difficult.  NCSC can help them where others haven’t.

I’ve always said that I would consider other sites, and I have.  But sometimes it takes an anvil, or a roadbed, to teach you that you aren’t looking around enough.  So, we’re doing what we need to do – focus on the work, not the site.  We’re looking at other facilities, and trying to figure out how to phase our plans into those sites.  We won’t grow as fast as we had, but that’s a GREAT THING.  I had always worried that we were taking on too much at one time, but how do you stop positivity?

Now I know.  You make sure that positivity is linked to a clear understanding of the project.  NCSC has never been about one person prospering without others prospering.  The arts, the agriculture, the dog sportsmen and the region’s residents have to work together, if it’s going to work.  And that “it” is not NCSC, it’s our entire culture.

People have to start looking at how communities work. We all have to step up and take action to make things happen if we care about them.  We have to stop delegating to others, because in recent years, everyone has acted as if it was “someone’s job,” to make our lives easy. Honestly, it is everyone ‘s
business to make sure we each have the best country we can have.  This doesn’t mean giving things away, but it does mean making sure there are opportunities for people to better their lives, through tools, knowledge, or access.  That’s what we’re doing, and will keep doing.  By increasing opportunities, we inspire dreams, we facilitate family’s thriving and we build local economies by increasing access to customers, facilities and opportunities.   We do see ourselves as a model of a way forward that will work for rural and suburban communities and have a good deal to offer to urban areas.

I hope that it doesn’t take another ‘faceplant,” for me to keep my eyes on the goal, and not the shiny tool that will help me get there.  I know that on the way,  I won’t get there alone, because the future is based upon the foundations that built this country  –  a balance between self-reliance and inter-dependency.  Community and individuality are not mutually exclusive as long as compassion and respect are in the recipe too.  Now, if I can just keep that in mind when I meet another roadblock.