A Turn in Things

Photo: We are excited to announce our new cohort of Program Fellows, who will support expanding and deepening BHFH public programs, residency, and hospitality in the coming year. (Left to right) Connor Rohwer, Micah Renner, and Eva Whittaker, BHFH Program Fellows for 2022 – 2023.

September 11, 2022 | Jen Newman, BHFH Program Director

“There is a turn in things

that makes the heart catch.

We are ripening, all the hard

green grasping, the stony will

swelling to sweetness, the acid

and sugar in balance …”

– “September Afternoon at Four O’Clock,” Marge Piercy 
Dear Friends, 

I have been reading through a book of poems by Marge Piercy this late summer, and I read “September Afternoon at Four O’Clock” this week. The poem spoke to something in me stirring at this time of year. 

At BHFH, we are in a season of abundance and harvest — we have had nine new residents move in since June 1st. Three of these new residents are Program Fellows — our new cohort who will work to expand and deepen BHFH’s programs. 
I’m excited about what I get to see ripening here — from the beginnings of excitement for this fall’s public programs and events, to the relationships forming among old and new BHFH residents. 

By way of introduction, our program fellows reflected together on the Marge Piercy poem. Here are their reflections: 

After almost five years working in education and farming, I am experiencing a little of the “turn in things / that makes the heart catch” that the poet speaks of. In the last month, I moved to Boston from my home in Minneapolis to pursue a Masters of Divinity and to live and work as a Program Fellow at Beacon Hill Friends House. With a return to school, there is certainly a good deal of “grasping” and “stony will” at work, but there is also so much new energy and pleasure. The heart catches, and it is hard to not feel overwhelmed with gratitude that it is still possible to change and to grow.” – Connor Rohwer 

In times of transition, my mind often circles around balance. How the old meets the new, how the toughness of change meets the excitement and energy of starting again. As the three of us embark upon this fellowship and start our lives and roles in the Friends House, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m hoping to learn this year. What can I learn from the acid, and how can I center that with the sugar? What, in this moment of transition, makes my heart catch? How do I want to be present to this ripening, and also try and visualize how the future coils in these moments of growth/change?” – Eva Whittaker 

My heart is being stretched by so many complex tensions. I am full of gratitude for this new role and the space I find myself in, anticipating what I will learn alongside the community this fellowship provides. Simultaneously, my body braces itself for the changing seasons to come, and as my first experience of living and working in this communal way, I am also bracing for uncertainty mixed with an openness to all that I might learn from what I allow myself to receive. The people I miss and the ones I embrace in my immediate presence are all bringing their own perfection and wisdom to the home I cultivate for myself in every moment.” – Micah Renner

You can learn more about each of our Program Fellows and the unique gifts they each bring to their role on our website.

I am so excited to continue to learn and grow alongside our fellows, new residents, and all of you, this year.

In Light and Community, 
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