It’s wonderful to have a genuine friend named Crystie Kisler with me on the podcast today. Crystie Kisler is the co-founder of Finnriver Farm & Cidery, (@finnriver) and is a mother, farm wife, and community networker in the Chimacum Valley, on an organic farm located along a salmon stream on the north Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Her partner, Keith, is farming heritage wheat at @finnrivergrain
I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing Crystie’s warmth and generosity in circles together, workshops together, and could feel it in the atmosphere when I visited Finnriver on a trip for my son’s 16th birthday. If I had a farm-based business, I would use Finnriver as the model and template.
Where Crystie and I could spend probably forever talking and visioning and activating dreams together is where land-based spiritual connection and social justice meet, where business ownership and equity and advocacy intersect, where dismantling supremacy culture meets building a worthwhile and beautiful and delicious future.
This is a conversation between two white ladies grappling with what it means to connect to land you don’t come from, and how we might try to learn how to belong there.
Here is the poem that Crystie wrote and read to us:
What will it take to belong here truly
To a land I was not born to, nor my parents or theirs or theirs?
Once I have learned the timing of the swans’ swooping return?
The names of the many feathered ferns?
Once I am on familiar terms with all the wild berries?
Been covered head to heel by nettle stings and blackberry briars?
Immersed myself in the sea wrapped in kelp?
What if I smeared Semiahmoo Muck all over my body? What if I packed it in my mouth?
What if I ate only from this ground? Drank only rainwater and creekrun from these clouds?
What if my feet never left this land again?
If the birds knew me by scent and did not scatter when I went by?
If all my neighbors waved? If I knew the names of all the bones and stones I found on the beach?
Is there any way to belong here? In this place. This time and space?
Will I always feel Extraterrestrial? Invader? What would cedar say about me?
Could I become familiar to here? Make family? Grow roots? On a farm? Can I untangle from harm?
Could I learn the real word for home? Could I assemble myself whole among the mycelium?
Could I find my way by the feel of it under and through me?
Is it morbid to say I feel like I will only fully belong when I am buried here?
When I have given All of myself back? ~Crystie Kisler, 8/2
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