2018 Annual Friends of the Pumpkinivine dinner

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On April 24, we had our 17th annual Friends of the Pumpkinvine dinner at the Crystal Ballroom of the Lerner Theater in downtown Elkhart. It was the first time we had the dinner in Elkhart. Previously, we had rotated the dinners between Goshen, Middlebury and Shipshewana.

Around 280 attended the dinner — about what we’ve had in previous years. I gave a talk about how patience is rewarded, if certain conditions exist,  citing examples of how patience our supporters have been when there were years when there was little or no progress in building the trail, and how the Community Foundation of Elkhart County was patience in requiring an onsite visit for their $300,000 grant. Both are examples of how they trusted us and we trusted them.

I also mentioned that the Amish churches have become a financial supporters through a fundraising letter we sent to them.  A less obvious way they have become supporters is by the inclusion of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail in the 2017 edition of the Indiana Amish Directory..

A highlight of the evening was the poetry reading of the poem that won first prize in our first annual poetry contest. Matt Lind read his poem “Awe” and gave the poem some context. I’ve asked Matt to write down the remarks he made for this blog, but I haven’t seen them yet. I found them very helpful in understanding the poem.  Here’s Matts poem:

By Matthew Lind

Each day it waits, patiently.
I know it’s there
And even that

Fills me with anticipation.

It is a place where freedom lies
And comfort, perhaps
And awe…

Aren’t the Rocky Mountains “awe”?
Maybe Precipice Trail,
Red River Gorge,
Angel’s Landing,
The Highland Trail…

But the Pumpkinvine?

Let me explain.
It is awe, 

Brought down to earth;

 A miracle that forms 

This wondrous NOW.
It does not shout;
It whispers:
“Rider, awake!
Walker, awake!”

There is a place

For majestic mountain peaks,
For the overload of senses
That completely humbles.

Yet here this is:

Of forest and field,
Of understated beauty,
Of awe laid low.
Our back yard
Where we live,
Yet animated by the same
Dizzying atoms
That form Yosemite’s vistas. 

It does not shout.
It whispers:
“Come, walk my path.