Patrick Brady – Man of all seasons

In the comings and goings of my everyday life I pass by an apple orchard. I am fascinated by how it changes, it has so many faces; Spring, beautiful white blossoms fill the trees. Summer, a massive sea of green. Fall, children running through it’s rows, smiling as they reach up to pluck that perfect apple to put in their bag. Winter, stark barren branches.

Today I am walking through it’s rows, eating apples and sharing a cup of tea with the Steward of Raven Hill Orchard, Patrick Brady..

Patrick, you live in a teepee in the orchard. How did that come about?
As the Steward of the orchard I need to be available; to be in contact with the orchard, with whatever is going on, it was also about the notion of permanence. Fires come every year and if Mother Nature brings her production to town I can have this down in an hour. It has given me a different perspective on my own relationship with the earth. It’s a much more harmonious connection with my surroundings. It’s my place of rest and rejuvenation…

Patrick you say that you are ‘the observer here not the master’, what does mean for you?
Adaptable, flexible to the winds of nature, if not I’m going to break. Last spring we had strong west winds that blew constantly. I tried to resist the winds, finally I decided to go with it. So I took a trip up the mountain to be with the wind.

What lesson has the wind taught you?
Mother nature cannot be ignored or overlooked. The orchard demands awareness, presence is necessary. To be present without awareness would be so overwhelming; the orchard has it’s own clock, and to be here one needs to set their clock to orchard time.

Did you have trouble setting your clock?
No not really. In the previous seven years in New York I went through so many experiences that I learned from. The journey was like a river, I worked through a lot of illusion; it’s not all about stuff. This life needs a different language.

This has become so much more than a job, I love the mystery and the challenge with mystery is the more you try to define or describe it the more fleeting it becomes.

What are some of the activities that keep you busy?
Activities are varied, its an intuitive sense. Hopefully one develops a ‘oneness’ and harmony with the environment, sometimes the activity is going out and touching the trees. I find it necessary to have physical contact with each tree through pruning branches thinning apples or just checking on the condition of the tree, after all it is a living being, sometimes activity means running to the top of Volcan (a near by mountain)..which gives me a whole other perspective…a blessing itself…..

What does caring for the trees give you?
Caring for the trees is such communion with Mother Nature, a direct personal intimacy with earth and its creation; each morning first thing I do is stretch my arms out to the sky above push my feet into the earth below and breathe deeply while stretching my body as much as I can while inhaling the pure fresh oxygen from the wind moving through the trees the actual transfusion is from the trees caring for me.

When people come and pick apples here, what does it bring out in them?
First I notice the opportunity to be together in a natural environment, the evidence is the camera; I get so many requests from people, “would you mind taking our picture?”…..its light hearted and fun, wonderful memories to take into the resting time ahead. It is also one of our oldest ventures…..’hunting and gathering’…..there remains the love for collecting food and providing for ones family…

What is your favorite part of being the Steward of this beautiful place?
My favorite aspect of being here in the orchard is the sense of belonging I get; belonging to life, belonging to something so much greater than my individual ‘self’, nowhere have I felt the connection so profound than here, witnessing the miracle of life’s evolving cycles bringing home the ‘secret’ that this IS the incredible journey and makes it known…’Seasons circle round the sun and all the many roads are one’.

Thanks Patrick for sharing what inspires you.

Raven Hill Orchard is located in Julian California, it has approx 8000 trees, with 7 varieties of apples, that you can have the fun and pleasure of picking yourself.

You can check the Julian Chamber of Commerce website for opening dates, or call
Raven Hill Orchard at 760-765-2431

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4 Responses to “Patrick Brady – Man of all seasons”

  1. 1 Deborah October 16, 2008 at 11:40 am

    I visited Ravenhill last weekend. I was immediately overwhelmed with the beauty and serenity I found walking down the rows of apple trees. The sky was clear blue, with a few billowy white clouds, and I could hear children giggling from across the orchard. I noticed a metal raven sculpture with feathers hanging down on either side that caught the wind and made it turn. A child was trying to touch the feathers with a very excited and pleased look on his face. There are a few places and events that I will hold in my mind forever. The first event was a walk on the Columbian Gorge river to Multnomah Falls amoung the ancient ferns and waterfall mist, and the second will be my day at Ravenhill. What a wonderful, peaceful day I had.

  2. 2 Dayna September 10, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I loved this place and the steward Patrick was so pleasant to talk to! My 2 year old daughter loved picking apples and my husband and I really enjoyed looking at Patrick’s sculptures, talking to him and walking the rows of apple trees. I cannot wait to come back. I have already sent 2 groups to pick apples at his orchard in the 1 week since I went there. I plan to go again this weekend as well with an out of town friend!

  3. 3 Chuck April 3, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Patrick is a very deep and abiding soul…interesting…introspective and inspirational – words seem to flow like a river from his pen! His hand seems to mold life and bend metal with wisdom and the shapes come from a very soulful place.
    Chuck S.

  4. 4 CharleMay September 11, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    As I strolled through this invitingly serene and beautiful orchard, I could hear the cherished trees whispering their delight, “Come partake in the fruits of our love” they said, and I did happily! Thank you, Ravenhill, for providing this space of joy and remembrance… CM

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