2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

(This blog originally appeared on Tim Nuthall’s website: http://tnuthall.com/)

Some of you know where I am right now. Some of you don’t.

Some of you know why I am here right now. Some of you don’t.

But enough with this artsy writing cadence.

I’m here in Richmond, Virginia as a transplant.  A jettisoned man from Western and Upstate New York, here for a new beginning.  This isn’t a new thing for me, since I’ve called home to 4 different regions of New York before coming here.

Now here I stood, 6 months ago with a feeling that’s all too familiar (as I’m sure you’re quite familiar with as well). That your move has you sitting on top of soil, to which your roots can’t seem to dig in deep, and that leaves you on uncomfortable and unstable ground.

Here is something that wasn’t familiar though: That when I first moved here, the soil seemed to be of a much different quality than I’m used to.  At first glance, it seemed as if there has been some serious cultivation going on. People here engaged, hard at work, and providing a rich and nutritious soil for their community. Some of those farmers I got to meet at TEDxRVA.

I signed up online to volunteer for an event I’ve always wanted to be part of.  It was time to step away from the computer watching, and start making it come alive for myself by doing.  Plus, some of my friends on the TEDxUtica team make it look all too fun to be apart of. So, I just had to do it.

By the first volunteer meet up, I knew this was the best thing I could possibly do being new to the area. I voraciously consumed all the fantastic intel I was getting. Everyone there had suggestions (and sometimes spirited debates) on where to eat, where to drink, what to see, and what to do. It was like having the un-jaded analog version of Yelp.

What was more important than the intel, was the stories and the palpable energy of everyone around. Just a  fantastic narrative of where everyone came from, who they are, and how we all got here to this “farm” on the map.  It was a true essence of a community, a group of people coming together forming a single collective. Speakers, Volunteers, and Audience Members joined together to celebrate our very own soil, discussing how it’s impacted by everything all over, and to create ideas and foster mindsets that build upon our own through those experiences.

This, dovetailed with my new venture as a barista at the Virginia Center Commons Starbucks has shed a new light on community for me.  That if you just exist in full organic form, find that soft spot of soil, and sink those roots in deep.  It will in-turn grow you, nurture you, and let you find your own way to a comfort of home. One of those TEDxRVA farmers told me in talk of this very concept: Bloom where you grow.  I can tell from this experience, I was opening up and taking in everything this area provides.

Richmond is a home now. I have a community. I owe it to everyone here, because without their tireless farming and introducing me to soft soil…I would’ve probably moved on to where I could’ve found that sort of nutrition.

Now that I’m “blooming”, I need to put on my boots and overalls*, and get straight to work. I need to be a farmer and cultivate more soil. I need to help make room for others who are transplants like myself in this community, and I need to do my part to farm for more growth to enrich us all.

TL;DR: When you move and uproot yourself, don’t just sit on top of soil. Find the soft spot, and sink in. Suck the living daylights out of the nutrition a community offers, and most importantly…return it all back.

*Side Note: Can I pull off overalls? Probably not.