Leaving the Woods
“Community is not what we state it to be, but rather it is what burgeons out of the necessities of life.”
– Susannah Gebhart of OWL Bakery
I have been hiding out in the woods as much as possible in recent months. Last night was the first time I ventured out to reconnect with our local entrepreneurial community in a good while. I was planning to spend another night at home at the cabin, but when I saw that Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants was speaking at one of our favorite local breweries I was inspired to go, as I knew that she too is an entrepreneur who is most at ease in the rural landscape. And I am so glad I did. Before she spoke, we were treated to Susannah Gebhart, a Birds Eye alum and one of our area’s most talented bakers, speak so eloquently about her experience heeding the call to bake. She recaptured the moment in which she felt herself gaining energy while exerting her energy baking and she experienced simultaneous senses of connection, clarity, and dedication in relation to her craft. And in that moment, I felt myself resurge in my own local community and reconnect with my own work as a result.
Sarah then shared the story of Red Ants Pants, one laced with serendipity, bold leaps of faith, and routine skips down the 17 steps between her front door and her local watering hole in White Sulphur Springs, Montana, her chosen community. And being the mission-driven venture that Birds Eye is, I was particularly interested to learn that it wasn’t until 10 years in that she felt Red Ants Pants was ready and worthy of birthing their mission statement and declaring their most core values. It was at this decade mark of toil and tenacity, that she was able to state confidently what their work in the world is. It was essentially time to assess the impact of their work to date and determine what drives their decision-making moving forward.
Tomorrow morning I will begin leading our next Alpine course through our partnership with Mountain BizWorks. This course is designed for existing entrepreneurs to do just that, gain perspective and insight in order to forge the path ahead. While all of the time in the woods this summer has fortified me through the offerings of contemplation and re-calibration, I am excited to go “back-to-school” with fellow leapers, and to witness, and participate in, the burgeoning of community once again. Thank you, both Susannah and Sarah, for the kick in the pants you gave me through your own story-telling.