Querencia is a Spanish term.
It was introduced to us by a friend who spent an afternoon with us on the porch this fall over food, conversation, and wine. In turn, she sent to us this term to ponder. If we understand it correctly, it is: The place one's strength is drawn from; where one feels most at home; the place where one can be one's authentic self.
These are potent concepts to be rolled up into one word -- those of strength, home, and authenticity. They reflect the soulful quest for inner peace.
In the picture above, we witness young Cameron. He is holding a length of fescue to show how much grass the cows are moving onto that morning. Cameron is nearly as at home in the pasture with cows as under roof with parents. He is blessed to know his center so early in life. That blessing will bring great satisfaction to his journey.
These ladies and gentlemen are feeling good about their lives right now. They are yearlings who don't have a care in the world. Interesting research reveals that bovines derive well-being from being able to periodically return to the pasture of their birth. On our farm, that would be 4 - 5 times per year. We want them to have a complete sense of querencia, assuming it makes a difference in the quality of meat they offer us.
The same with these rascals! They are always reinventing the meaning of home, plowing new ground wherever they find themselves. They draw strength from each other and whatever mischief they can root up.
And then we have this guy. He is feeling his strength in full and feeling right at home, while making no pretense about his purpose in life.
Susan's sense of querencia comes from creating food, from the patient process of discovering its complex inner magic and releasing it for the pleasure of others. The meditative steps therein give her strength, rootedness, and a sharpened sense of self. This Farmhouse Soup is one of infinite examples.
Mine comes from walking the land, doing work to enhance landscapes, moving animals, and interacting with people who care, like our customers. I feel the power of these activities all the way down to my feet. The sensation in the feet makes me feel balanced and true, as they listen to the ground, when standing, talking, or walking.
I have know the opposite, where a prolonged environment and activity was not grounding, where interaction seemed an affectation of the head, and too much energy was expended coping and searching for a different environment and an elusive self. There are times in life when it is valuable to affect a persona, to search for who one really is, or simply to go underground for respite from daylight. But sooner or later, the soul begins asking for replenishment, and the search for querencia commences.
One indicator of querencia might be where one goes, what one does, to whom one turns when feeling troubled. Since living in our new-old house, I have found myself oiling this maple table during moments of perplexity. The table is symbolic, being round at the center of our kitchen, at the center of our house, which is one center of our farm. And the way raw wood responds to oil is so rewarding: deepening and glistening with tones and highlights of running grain. The table becomes becomes alive, and ever so gradually answers one's call for resolve. I have come to view that table as a source of strength, in addition to the land.
We grill burgers once a week, and always remark how good they are and that they provide comfort.
We are thankful to our friend, Penny, who offered us the concept of querencia to ponder. Its richness touches the lives of most of us, as we each find it in unique fashion.
Bob will be at the Montgomery Market tomorrow and he and Beth will be at Hyde Park on Sunday. Please send questions or orders to me by email or place them on-line.
In gratitude for the quest,
Drausin & Susan
Following the rainbow home!