As you enter the Burnes’ Barn, you are forced to engage the space of the structure not only by the looming catwalks grazing your head and the thrusting chimney craning your neck, but also by the persistent texture of bric-a-brac and books lining all surfaces.
Last evening the whirling panoply of 19th-centuryism artefacts was echoed by the dozens of six-year olds frolicking at half-height, wooly heads passing under the adults’ patting palms, shrieks in the corners and on the cantilevered connecting passages above.
It was a festive time.
One of the guests, Tom Chalmers, an architect and farmer, told me he once studied under the MIT dons who designed the Barn in the 70’s as a temple to anti-monumentalism where every passage and staircase, to me like some M.C. Escher painting, embraces you to the place. There are no rooms, just morphing space, somewhat delineated by furniture or a mirror on a wall. Carol Burnes, the matron of the hall, has enriched the place with decades of her delicate collections of antiques and art.
Something about the space and sense of place, uniqueness essentially, echoes in the work of Land’s Sake that drew us together. The crowd was mostly our dedicated board, and our dedicated staff, and a few special friends of the farm. We all participate in Land’s Sake because we are enthusiastic about engaging with a place.
We work and love and revel in the bounty of the land – not just the empty canvas of a big barn type of landscape, but the designed, adorned and utilized landscape of the suburban ecology. We delight in the texture of the land around not just because it is beautiful – of course it is. Not just because it has the beating germ of nature and all the golden ratios unfolding. Not just because it causes us to smile inexplicably.
We delight in the landscape because of its benefits, its accumulated stories, and the sharing of that which creates a community of known members. Our work, our shared stewardship of the Land’s Sake Farm and our associated parcels, is that most ancient source of kindreding.
It was wonderful last night to see so many of the long-time and deep-hearted supporters of Land’s Sake come together for a lingering meal and many good handshakes and cheek-kisses. It was wonderful to be such a part of an authentic community.