Posted in Photographs, Travel, Unschooling, Updates and Musings

Reflections on Joshua Tree

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Growing up in New England, I had a vague image of what the desert would look like, and feel like—and it didn’t necessarily bring to mind an image of abundant life and color.  However, it took Joshua Tree only a matter of moments to begin to reveal to me the magic that is life in the desert.

Sunrise turns the mountains purple and the sun greets the morning sky with vibrant colors.  I climb from the tent and walk around the house to lean against the Joshua Tree.  A rabbit flits across the ground in front of me, and I breathe deep—this is the first morning I spent in Joshua Tree back in November.  I had arrived at night after many days of travel and fallen fairly immediately to sleep.  Although I spent only a few days at Opuntia Garden Farm in November, by the time I was thoroughly enchanted and knew this place would feed my burgeoning fascination with permaculture well.

Arriving again in Joshua Tree in January, the colors welcomed me again. The pastel shades of green on the shrubs and trees, the browns of the ground, the yellow straw in the swales, the deep green of the leaves in the kitchen garden, and of course, the vibrant blue sky.

On my first evening of my internship stay, Maya and Damian and Oliver welcomed me into their sweet desert home, filled me with delicious food and warm tea and over candles we each set intentions for my stay.  Then it was time to wrap up in sweaters and scarves to head out to a cozy camper to sleep.

My days in Joshua Tree floated into a sweet feeling of timelessness. Early mornings were greeted with delicious green smoothies or sometimes pancakes. Later mornings would be filled with projects on the land, and then time for lunch and an afternoon lounge in the hammock underneath the old mesquite tree.

Through talking and eating with Maya and Damian I began to gain a greater understanding of using trees as a truly sustainable food source. Though I have often enjoyed treats from trees in Vermont, such as maple syrup and apples, the trees in the desert are vastly different than the trees in Vermont that I know well.  Inspiring in their abundant life with little water intake and their ability to take in and utilize so much sunlight, it was lovely to learn about the different species around the property.

I got to collaborate on many projects during my stay.  It was lovely to dive into building happy compost, brewing compost tea, digging a channel to harvest rainwater, and making bread from acorns I helped process.

There were countless joys in each day, from digging my hands into the bottom of a swale to feel moisture even weeks after a rain, hearing joyful children on the trampoline, feeding the chickens, getting to know everyone who lived on the land, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, and even pulling the last spine of a choya bud out of my bare feet.

Ultimately, there are no words to capture the wonders of my stay, but I feel blessed to be able to begin to convey the gratitude I feel for my time spent on the farm, getting to know the land and the people, and getting to throw my body and heart into every project, conversation and moment I was a part of.  With a little water, some beautiful plants and a whole lot of love Opuntia Garden Farms is a place overflowing with what I can only describe as magic.

2.21.17

 

 

Posted in Photographs, Travel, Updates and Musings

Thoughts from the Pinacates

the sun retreats behind a cloud. I open my eyes, having forgotten for a moment the height to which my body has carried me.  Beneath: her footsteps carry her crunching across the blackred rock and I witness her descent. My own feet burn, bare for lack of boots which lay moistened beyond use from the rain last night down below, below a far reach.  My muscles slumber within my skin.

Green, green and there is so much life here. Like the moon, they say. All volcanos, all rock, all lifeless, but my senses speak of other truths. Magic. Always magic, wherever I am.

Previously I glistened in the sun, warm beneath my sweater and my overalls, made more of dirt than corduroy.  Blossom, buzz, breathe.  This is pure, ecstatic bliss.  Finally arrived and gently, I wake.

As the wind shares her enthusiasm, the sound of the family below dissispates and I am immersed in the desert language.  One that speaks of savoring each drop of water to create ghost flowers and spiny fruits.

I enter timelessness, in love with this time, free.  I am each creature whispering along the rocks. I, exquisitely and permanently, a guest, become further within myself, entirely removed from all sense of I.

Eyes flutter shut, I promise wakefulness to a later moment.

2.28.17 Pinacates, Sonora, Mexico

Posted in Photographs, Poems, Travel

desert stars

the wind does not pull me subtly from sleep but wake my nylon nest into waves, creating an ocean in the land with no water.
I am encouraged to emerge and this land is singing, making no movement to elevate itself towards the sky nor emulate his light but thanking the sky from her very core, the earth and the atmosphere dance to each other’s blessings; these desert stars are magic.

I’d like to dance, too, nestled in the dry sand, laying on my back, this is soaking in the earth, grounding, thanking the sky for the depth of its mystery.

This is good to be alive, this is good to be awake in the middle of night.

excerpts from the days on the train

Posted in Photographs, Travel, Updates and Musings

October again

leaves hit the sky with their vibrance at six in the morning it is still not quite light out, but my eyes are wides open.  I am many things, rested not among them but early morning is my favorite time of day.

I watch the day grow lighter, shivering on these unattached steps waiting for the biggest shiver to send me in through the doors to warm tea.  Then I am no longer in someone else’s bed.   I take pen to paper then stop and hunt long kisses just before saying goodbye.  I don’t like to be caught with what I have found.  I write again, in the fall, not in intention but out of necessity, the only way to keep my fingers warm and my mind unfrozen.  Timer buzz, it is afternoon now, time for dinner soon and warm out of the oven.  —

 

Then, it has been a week.  I sit for few moments yet upon a bus, one side of this bookend that will be four days.  A car ride, a bus ride, two train rides, a bus ride, a car ride.  This is exciting, though I had not known how to let it be such for many months.  Only knew that westward bound one of these days I would be. So two false starts, and then here I am, on my way for real.

I smell chicken soup, strange for a bus.  I tried to write this in stillness as I rested my soul in fairyland, but now I have taken that well fed body of mine into this bus and I find it is comfortable here, too.   Contentment is not a place, but something I carry with me.  So from Maine to California I embark.  Across this country into corners I have never been, we will see.  Lately I’ve been listening to music I haven’t heard since I was fifteen.  Wondering who I have turned out to be, and who it is I will turn into, but then again, just happy to be me.

One day, the fall will remind me to hibernate, because I can feel this in my soul, but now I travel through the rain.  We will see where and when I will be.  I have learned that confusion may be relevant, that it does not have to pull me into a dream state, and that sometimes it is okay if I am angry.  And when I learned that, I learned that growing pains are true and real, and every seed has a breaking point, and I’m learning what it means to stretch my roots out. They may grow slowly, but they still grow.  And when I learned this I learned that it’s okay to be happy, again, in myself. I remembered that happiness and sadness are not exclusive.

This is about me, my dream last night.  I spoke to someone who wasn’t there, and he asked me why I was walking in a direction I did not mean to go, then I opened doors and let them sit while I boarded a plan. You, and he, and the oak tree on the other side.  Even my mama was there, and I let her be.  I sit with oak leaves and poems I wrote earlier this week about how I was learning to be still in a space.  Everything, again, is not only okay but exactly as it’s meant to be.  I know this, because I dreamt about the bus station I arrived at this morning. I had never been there before.

I wonder if my life will always be perfect puzzle pieces.  When I was seven years old, I wondered who the people on the train were that slept in their chair and not in a room with their parents. I wondered how, and why. I watched them doze and wanted to know them. Tonight I will become one among their ranks, and dream well of places I do not yet know.

Posted in Photographs, Poems, Updates and Musings

in short.

May 30th seems like years ago, and I sit now in quiet Vermont moments once again, nearly three months since I have posted anything on this blog.

Worlds of change have occurred, and yet so many moments it seems as though nothing has changed at all.  Perhaps that is the way of life.  Overwhelming amounts of change and stagnancy happening simultaneously.

I could perhaps try to fit everything into simple prose and tell the world all that I can remember has happened, but this has never been my strong suit and tends to make me dread writing as an unfriendly task instead of letting it run into my open arms, as words are so often wont to do.  So to prevent the forced nature of writing I will instead let the poetry and music I’ve written in the past few months speak for itself, and post it as I am inclined over the next few days.  To begin, here is a refrigerator poem I wrote this morning.

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