One of the things that draws me to Valle Crucis is that time really does seem to stand still. I am not the only person to have noticed this. This place is a constant reminder to slow down, so it’s fitting that I am in no hurry to reopen to the public.
Last year my big lesson from the Lavender House was that the new primary purpose of the business was to provide meaningful livelihood to my employees. Whatever we happen to be doing, or however much extra money we may or may not be making is secondary.
As the pandemic unfolded around us a couple of months ago, I realized that with my teaching work still occupying so much of my time, I felt a deep (if temporary and anxiety-inducing) sense of purpose and responsibility. It got me out of bed most mornings and kept me engaged throughout the day. Friends who did not have virtual or “essential” work had to figure out how to create a new sense of meaning and purpose from scratch.
We gathered at the Lavender House for routine spring garden care that would need to happen no matter what the future held. The first day of yard work was a dream come true. Working together gave us an excuse to be together - though at a safe distance, and being outside in the spring felt intoxicating: the annual miracle of being barefoot on the earth.
That day I realized another big purpose of business - to function as a hub that a group of people can gather around. If this were just my house and I said to my friends, “Come help me in the garden and I’ll feed you!” there would have been no sense of collective ownership, or investment in the outcome. They would have been helping me with my garden, and no matter how much we enjoyed the process and how generous I was with extra tomatoes and greens down the line, I would have been the primary beneficiary of that help. Because the Lavender House is a business, we all have the opportunity to give and receive more equitably.
I don’t know when we will reopen. When we do, I want it to feel safe enough to throw the doors open wide and welcome you back with open arms. For now, we’ll still be here making sweet self-care products (available online or on our local online Food Hub), and reshaping this land into the latest and best new iteration of itself.
I’m starting to wonder if maybe this is why the Lavender House was created in the first place - so that we’d have somewhere to turn when the world changed, and that the particular “somewhere” could not just be a source of meaning and purpose, but of food and medicine and deeper self-love as well.