The farm this summer was bursting with boy campers and firmly held to the ground by the farm crew women. Here is a celebration (albeit an insufficient one because they are beyond words) to five of them, the youngest amongst us. Lauren Brady (Semester 49, Summer Farm Crew 2014): Lauren is detail oriented and our on-call weed whacker. She knows what time it is, hunts down every weed in her vicinity without qualms, and holds herself (and us) to the highest of standards. She rolls her eyes at the rest of the crew when we’re being too childish, but breaks out into occasional giggles for reasons the rest of us cannot discern. When Lauren does something, she pays attention: she has learned the difference between looking and seeing. What she sees, she tries to make sense of, and she reports back with her findings. She thinks about big things while she works. She keeps us all honest. And on time. And in line. She loves big. Peeg (Semester 49, Summer Farm Crew 2014): Sophie Parker-Goos – our Peeg – is as rooted as she is wistful. If farming was represented as a Venn diagram of practicality and reverence, Peeg sits firmly in the intersection. She braided flowers into Sal’s hair as a semester student; these days she learning to drive the great beast with aplomb. She wants to be some day the person that she already is; she just hasn’t recognized her own greatness yet. There is a fullness to the farm when Peeg is on it. She is the best person to process a day with while tooth brushing. Sophia Brown (Semester 51, Summer Farm Crew 2014): Sophia is the external processor of the group. If you listen to what – at first – seems like a lot of words coming all mumbled out of her mouth, you’ll hear what she’s really saying: I care a lot. I want to do good in the world. I love you. Love me? Sophia was the first to volunteer for anything that needed doing . . . and then she’d quickly volunteer to give up the chance to do it if someone else might want to do it more. She wants each person on the farm to be happy and engage meaningfully. She made more hand-cranked ice cream than seems possible this summer and sought to teach as much as she was learning. Grace Burchard (Semester 48, Summer Farm Crew 2014): Grace can talk to any person about any thing. She knows no strangers. She volunteers quickly. She grins and giggles easily. Children love her. When Grace speaks, she does so earnestly and with intensity. She left us to lead a ten day wilderness trip for girls mid-summer because Chewonki needed her. That’s Grace: she recognizes what she’s been given, and tries to give back in turn. Izzy Ruffin (Semester 50, Farm Activity Head 2014): Izzy revolutionized so many boys’ relationships to the farm this summer. She worked tirelessly – I mean it: tirelessly – to bring campers to the farm for morning chores at 5:40 am, to usher them through the Junior/Master Farmer program, to make announcements in the dining hall to teach about the food on the tables, to keep the boys moving and doing and loving on the farm. Isabel Ruffin (rhymes with “muffin”) has something about her that words can’t wrap around, some combination of magic and sturdiness and grace and articulation and strength that is so much of what I want to be when I grow up. I had this thought that maybe I’d have photos to accompany this post, that I’d find the perfect shot of each of these women being the very essence of themselves in the midst of potato beetle squishing or ice cream making with boys campers or weeding the umpteenth row of beans or moving animals on pasture. Mostly I just found (very few) photos of them standing still at particular photo-worthy moments of the summer (ie, that time we played the seven dwarfs in a play put on by the three to six year old Ducklings at Chewonki): But mostly we weren’t standing still this summer. And mostly we didn’t have time to pause for photos because our hands were too dirty and too many things were on the to do list for the day. So there’s nothing – photographically speaking – to capture the act of what these women did here this summer. The testament lies in some vegetables and a community on the farm and off and people well fed and animals well tended to and . . . well . . . all of it. Looking out my window in a physical sense and behind me in a reflective one, this moment has come about because these young women came to this place, picked up their tools, and did their work. Every day. I was trying (inarticulately) to explain in the garden yesterday while weeding radishes how anxious I feel at this place in time each summer: with our seven week crew heading out and a new two week crew heading in tomorrow just as we begin the transition from the camp world to the semester world, everything feels upturned, and we’re right at the beginning of a bunch of things when we’ve been sitting so firmly in the middle-end on so many other levels. That anxiety is certainly no reflection on the fabulous folks heading here tomorrow, but more a grand sense of loss of the sheer force of love, determination, will, work, and watching that is moving away from this place as these women leave here. They are headed in all directions this fall: Peeg and Lauren to Bennington College in Vermont, Grace to her second year at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Izzy to Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, and Sophia back for her senior year of high school in Hong Kong. As happens on farms and in life, they’ll cycle back in some sense or way. In the meantime: gratitude, young friends. You have cultivated much this summer.