The Secret Sauce
The story of Finnriver Cidery reads like a good children’s fairytale, chock full of disciplined hard work, challenges overcome, and dreams come true. And if you read through their story, you will find inspired dreams weaving together a rich tale of people, land, food and economics that is both sustainable and fulfilling:
Since that terrible day in May, the way that our small, rural community deals with death and dying has been permanently altered. Many others have crossed over, some before their time. But increasing numbers of people are considering their final wishes, writing them down, and discussing them with kin. Many are choosing to die at home, in the presence of family and friends, and home funerals and green burial are also on the rise.
In the end, Rena’s willingness to take the bitter pill —accepting the personal and collective vulnerability that comes with being human and trying to create beauty and meaning from it— is inspiring to us all. But it is my deepest hope that other teenagers —artists or no— can recognize our collective tenderness and feel buoyed by Rena’s example: step forward in your truest self, and do it without regret.
As we finish up our time together, I find that I am once again inspired at the far-reaching impact “ordinary” people can have on their places. Passion, and a commitment to place really can change the world…one story at a time, and more often than not, the result is a little bit of magic.
Grounded in a nucleus of family, work and farm life, Amy and Kelsey are steeped in a sense of purpose, warmth and connection. And when life at home is centered and attuned, they find they have deep wells of energy for sharing their gifts with others.
Day by day, the labor and love that have gone in to transforming this once run-down building into a vessel -uniting the community through all of our primal human needs – connectedness, reverence, beauty, vulnerability, food and love- continues to build and evolve within the space at The ARK.
From more than a decade of coordinating large school fundraisers, to launching and developing a girls volleyball program, to hosting community “Games Nights” on a weekly basis through the summer months, to sitting on innumerable committees and boards, Paul and Paula find meaning through daily commitment, involvement, and sweat equity.
For the most part, these are stories of ordinary people with ordinary resources. They are stories of passion. They are stories of commitment. They are stories of reciprocity. And they are stories of hard work. The Secret Sauce is my effort to tell these stories of everyday people in an effort to show that every one of us has the opportunity to make a difference. We can change the world with thousands of tiny, everyday acts and a commitment to what matters.