That Which Brings Us Together
Hello, before I begin I would like to quickly introduce myself. My name is Sarah Buchholz and I live in the United States. Prior to the pandemic I spent the last 2 years traveling the Midwest region as a full time volunteer working with children and homebound elderly. I am a photographer and trained historian.
What is it about animals that can bring us all together? Is it the cuteness factor, even for the ones that many don't find cute? Is it the wonder we have for the diversity of nature? Maybe it is the possibility of friendship that can come from a common interest.
In times of stress, something cute or even boredom can take us down what I call "The Rabbit Hole of Cute." What do I mean by that? In my case it means watching YouTube and suddenly coming across a cute dog video and two hours later I am still watching cute animal videos.
We use cute as a way to cope with the stresses of our lives. The current situation of COVID has left us all searching for a way to cope with our lack of social contact, a job loss, or possibly even the loss of a family member we cannot properly mourn at the moment.
We all have a story about how we found Caenhill Countryside Center, and many of us have become friends thanks to the farm. I personally cannot recall how I found Caenhill Countryside Center, but I am certain it showed up on my YouTube home page and I was hooked!
I found Caenhill Countryside Center at a rather difficult point for myself as I had been living in Chicago, Illinois as a volunteer, but had to take a last minute flight home at the end of March with only a week's worth of clothes for my grandfather's funeral, all while everything was closing or being restricted. I was expecting to return to Chicago within a few days, only to return 3 months later for less than an hour to pack my things and a 15 hour journey round trip.
In between all of this, the US went through massive civil unrest, the heart of the storm being an hour south of where I live in Minnesota. I was mentally not in the greatest place being home, unexpectedly losing my sense of freedom and independence, while also on extreme edge as chaos ensued in my backyard- all while trying to find the mental strength to call the elders I had been visiting this year to check in on them. It was rough to say the least.
Now, how does all this fit in with me finding Caenhill Countryside Center? Normalcy and an escape. A kind and gentle voice in the storm. A structured glimpse of life in an unstructured and chaotic world. I personally believe that sometimes things do happen for a reason, by Divine Providence, happen stance or written in the stars, me showing up was meant to be.
As I stated earlier, I cannot remember what brought me here or specifically what day, but my YouTube shows it was around sometime in early May. Cuthbert was still in "The Office" and Chris was testing the cameras set up around the farm for live streams. I also began showing up for live Rush Hour and that's how The Bumblebees formed- a group of strangers brought together by Chris to get a tiny glimpse of behind the scenes, which has now formed into K.C. and the Chatty Farmer Facebook page.
However, before all that started, I was a shy newbie who was fascinated by these animals and this voice behind the camera who talked to his animals and they talked back! I showed up to a live stream one day and my very first impression was 1: "This guy has a good sense of humor, I like him!" and 2: "He looks exactly like I thought he would!" The funny thing is, Chris reminds me of my volunteer director from last year who is an Irishman turned American and has nearly the same sense of humor. I knew I was in the right place!
In late June, I, along with another Bumblebee, were asked if we wanted to be moderators for the Rush Hour live stream as well as K.C. and the Chatty Farmer. I also started helping Chris with the other social media pages. I never joined this site expecting to become part of the Caenhill team only virtually, but it's been a blast to be kept busy and to learn new things from google like the love lives of ducks and how to tell if they're flirting. I have also been happy to help calm people's fears of how Cuthbert has been doing. I guess if we go back to my question at the beginning about how animals can bring us together, it is certainly the friendship. I don't know how long I'll be around for, but I will forever cherish the friendships I have made and sense of family that Chris and Caroline bring.
Until next time, take care!