When asked by someone what purpose a monk can serve in the modern world, Thomas Merton is said to have replied, “Monks are like trees who, standing silently in the darkness, by their very presence purify the air.” My brief stay at St. Francis Farm had such a purifying, rejuvenating effect on me.
Lorraine, Joanna, and Zachary Hoyt have managed to nurture the development of a well-integrated farm organism here which seemed peaceful and vital, quite beautiful, which allowed a visitor like me to breathe it all in with deep appreciation, without distracting screens or screaming headlines. Each day had a steady rhythm to it, providing strength for meaningful, productive farm work and time for quiet reflection or thoughtful conversation. The Hoyts’ love for the place shines through the quality of the beautiful landscape, the nutritious and delicious food they produce and share, the amazing furniture, cabinets, toys, buildings and musical instruments they have fashioned from their own milled lumber, and the quality of relationships with their neighbors. I felt blessed to share in it all briefly--like a rejuvenating stroll through a pristine forest, with friends who are able to be quiet together.