Sunday, April 28, 2013

and I travel on

I took a PAL (personal affairs leave) from Twin Oaks about ten days ago.

I felt very content at Twin Oaks after being there almost two years, but I also felt a desire to explore some more communities, and gain some more primitive living skills.

Twin Oaks is a community of about 100 people. Sometimes I think of it as more of a village than a community. I've yearned to be in a close knit family, or a group of people who work together and support each other to grow and learn. It seems like I would need a smaller community for that. I also want to be in a community that focuses on emotional healing. There are so many people at Twin Oaks, going in all different directions. There isn't as much community as I want there. There isn't a main goal or purpose of the place. I think this is true just because it's so big. I think it could be possible for me to create that there, but I am not sure. That is part of what led me to take some time off to find out what I really want.

There are some people in Virginia who I really miss already..

My first stop is at East Wind Community. I lived at East Wind for six months before I moved to Twin Oaks.

We arrived at East Wind after driving for 16 hours. We came upon a large bonfire of people singing and playing guitar. I felt so happy to see my old friends again. People were visiting from communities throughout the country; from Emma Goldman in Seattle, from Sandhill in Northern Missouri, Acorn in Virginia, and now us from Twin Oaks in Virginia. It was a community gathering. We sang along as people passed the guitar playing Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and Neutral Milk Hotel until late into the night.

The temperature dipped down to 30 degrees.  I rolled out my sleeping bag in the dairy barn below two blankets; my head covered with a hat. I could see my breath in the night. It was cold, and I didn't sleep long. I woke up at Sunrise to the chickens crowing and cows mooing in the pasture. I felt exhausted, but wired, full of excited energy for this new, but also old place.

the lower garden and dairy barn at East Wind. August 2012
 I have spent a lot of the time here gardening. I feel so much more confident in the garden now, and I have enjoyed being in this garden learning different techniques. I have also helped milk goats, cook meals, and I took a few hikes through the woods.( East Wind sits on 1200 acres, including a lake and a cave.) I have learned some new Wildflowers, and have had long talks crying and laughing while weeding chamomile.

Some of the perks of East Wind to me include: No flushing toilets, new learning opportunities, beautiful land, a relaxed work atmosphere, and many other things. I've done all my peeing outside, and pooping in composting toilets. I really appreciate that East Wind doesn't have flushing toilets. It was strange to pee into water when I went into town yesterday.

There are a good number of people here who hunt deer, turkey, and squirrels. Some use bow and arrows and some use rifles. It is on the list of skills I want to gain while on this journey. I am leaving here in two days, but I hope to return before I go back to Twin Oaks, and possibly do some hunting.

I notice that I garden faster than quite a few people here, and I realized it's something I picked up working at Twin Oaks. There is a fast paced work ethic at Twin Oaks, even in the garden. I think it's because there is often this feeling like we are behind, or we will be behind if we don't work faster. Twin Oaks's businesses (tofu, hammocks, seeds, seed racks, indexing) don't make as much money as East Wind's businesses (mainly nut butter, but also sandals). Twin Oakers work hard so we can grow the food we need or buy the things we need. I suppose everyone's definition of need is different. This also isn't to say that East Winders don't work hard. Although, the labor quota is lower at East Wind, they make more money, and I have noticed people working at a slower pace than Twin Oaks.

me working in the Twin Oaks Seeds Garden-July 2011

I rode here with a group of Twin Oakers doing labor exchange. The group left this morning, and I felt sad, like I was experiencing another separation from Twin Oaks, my home. East Wind is a home, also. It's nice to have a lot of homes. It's strange to feel like a wanderer or traveler after being settled almost two years.

My next step is visiting my mom for a week, and then I will head out to the Possibility Alliance in northern Missouri. It is off the grid-so no electricity for internet to update the blog until I leave there.