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 Feminism, Updates and Musings

As White Women We MUST Do Better

A reminder to myself and my fellow white sisters:

We must stand, now we know this.  We must march, we must call, we must make our voices heard, it is time. For many of us this is the beginning.  For many of us this is a turning point where we say “THAT’S ENOUGH” and we mean it. For many of us we know we will not sit down or stand down or be beaten down until we have been heard, been listened to and feel respected.  For many of us–young, white women, we were born into a world where our rights to health care had already been fought for.

But as white women, we must do better than this.  We must look and know that for so many people this is not the beginning. This is not the beginning at all, but another hurtle. As white women we must not say “this will be a long four years.” We must say “We’re in this. Until it is fixed. For all of us.”

When we say “this white woman didn’t vote for Trump” this is the equivalent of saying “Not All Men,” or “All Lives Matter.” 53% of white women voted for Trump. Someone I know, someone you know, someone each of us knows voted him into office. We must shoulder this responsibility, educate ourselves and each other. We MUST hold each other accountable.

We must look our wounds in the face, our injuries that say “it has not been easy for me. I am not straight, I have been raped, I don’t get paid as much as men, I’m tired, I have a right to be scared,”
And then we must let those voices go. Cradle them, love them, hear their truth but do not let them deafen other voices, other needs.

We must fight not just for ourselves, but for all humans–for disabled people, black people, indigenous people, Muslims, LGBTQIA+ people, those in poverty, immigrants, people of color.

As white women we must be willing to be called out.  As white women we must be willing to see our privilege and dismantle it.  As white women we must know that it is OUR job to educate ourselves.  As white women, we MUST call each other out when our feminism is anything less than intersectional.

And we must fight not just until our safety is obtained but until ALL women–all  people know safety, know freedom, know equality.

Posted in Updates and Musings

Love Is the Way

When I say that love is the way
I do not mean that I will keep my hands to myself.
When I say that love is the way
I do not mean that I will sit quietly
And hope love shows up at the doors of those who lack love
naked and transparent so that they welcome love into their doors
When I say love is the way
I mean that I will take the love that burns within my veins
into my own two hands and shape it into something palpable
Until it stands so tall
And so strong
It will knock down the doors,
Pull the  up the curtains,
Tear down the walls
And force its way in where it’s needed
I mean that I will find the courage to love so fiercely
That I will weave a beacon of love that surrounds us
And pulls us together
So that when we come up against evil
We can run, we can storm, we can yell, we can push
We can stomp, we can cry, we can burn that evil
right down to the ground,
And in those ashes we will stand,
Shaping love into action before our very eyes.

1.28.17

Posted in Poems, Updates and Musings

Down to the river at first light | Vermont

they tell me autumn is a time for death, but this is only another quality of life.

The river’s voice is louder now, I want to swim, but it is snowing and the trees no longer protect naked bodies from view.  I kneel and listen.

She sings, wild. I sip of my tea and this is the same water in her body, in mine.  All water is connected, all water is love, all water is life, all water is sacred, all water leads to home.

The source!  I do not see this, but still I KNOW this.  (A mountain spring) within me.  All water be free. Yes!

The water rushes high, river bed full.  Keeping the rocks on the bank wet and warm enough to stay without snow.  The undersides of the trees, too, are bare and the world grows light.

Colors take their qualities into their own hands, dancing in the freedom to dress up in their winter finest.  Together, the earliest part of morning colors and I, run amok.

Panting, breathless now. I am arrived, whole, whole hearted, hearty, and revived.  Inhale, there is movement in my peripheral vision.  Hello shadows.  Good morning spirits and ancient ones.  Thank you for joining me.

My tea is chilled now and I take baby steps back the way I came, not backwards at all.

Good morning wild ones.  Good morning soul and good morning heart.  Yes.

It is morning. Now.

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.