Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Late Harvest

Been working like a dog lately... 12 hour days are becoming the norm. I'm probably too tired to write a coherent blog post, but I'll give it a shot.

Work has been coming in two forms: unpaid community volunteer work and very well paid medical marijuana work. I guess the two achieve some kind of taoist, universal balance? The karma of selfless good deeds has wrought personal abundance? Beats me... all I know is I'm too exausted to draw comparisons, make decent metaphors, or spell.

Yeah. So on Sunday (the big 10-10-10), a woman in the community organized a very successful event (in collaboration with in which people came out and helped clear the hike & bike trail along Takilma Road. My day was spent reclaiming swaths of the trail from overgrown blackberry and ceanothus, throwing the cuttings into a large trailer, and taking it to the goats. Imagine if a big dumb baboon brought you your favorite food on a silver platter all day long. That's what it was like being a goat on Sunday.

On Monday, a bunch of us volunteers went gleaning at a local farm. We combed through a gigantic mono-cultured corn field, and left with a few truck-beds of very nice corn which we distributed to food banks, charities, and schools. It was neat driving around delivering corn we harvested. I felt like Santa Clause.

Gleaning: Hard on the back!

Then today (and for the forseeable future), I did extremely boring and monotonus work for ridiculous sums of money. Actually, it's not so ridiculous if you think about it... nobody is gonna do this type of work for less than $20/hr, really. Unless you live in another country or came here from another country. It's soul sucking work and no self respectin' American should have to do it! It's work that transforms you from a living, breathing, possibly interesting human being ---> into an automoton.

Yes, but most of us learn that survival is toil sooner or later. I keep reminding myself that I'm putting in my toil now, rather than later. If I work enough in the next few weeks, I'll have my rent covered in Austin for a long time. I may not even have to get a job when I get back. I keep thinking about how nice that'll be. Keep thinking how much time it'll allow me to work on my art. It's what keeps me going.

But man! I need a friend who's into massage! My neck and shoulders are like rocks! I would give anything for a 30 minute massage: cash, cooking, cleaning, foot rubs, sexual favors, whatever you want!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Strong Women

During my stay at the Frog Farm I've gained a tremendous amount of respect for its owner, Deb Lukas. She's a tough gal. As a single mother she lived in a single room in a cabin high in the mountains. Raising her child, she didn't even have a car. Imagine having to bicycle over 10 miles to the nearest grocery store - with your baby! Since then, she's bought her own land, acquired an education in Herbalism, opened her own medical practice and herbal pharmacy, and with the help of her partner, Steve, is transforming a rather arid & rocky piece of property into a thriving permaculture farm. As if that weren't enough, she's also founded a non-profit whose goal is education, community building, and creating sustainability within the Illinois Valley. While many find her strong personality not-to-their-taste, she doesn't seem to care. She's on a mission and won't be stopped.

Deb's not the only one. I've begun noticing that Takilma is full of strong women. Women who have started their own businesses - growing gourmet garlic, raising Alpacas, baking! Women who sit on the boards of the Spiral Living Center and the Dome School. Women who ensure the children get a quality education and who put their energy into bringing healthy and affordable food into the community via the local food Co-Op. Meanwhile the men do their men stuff - tilling the soil, cutting wood, growing medical marijuana - all while benefiting tremendously from the efforts of the amazing women in this community. What lucky guys we are!

The other day I played The Girl Stands Up To Me Now for farmer Steve. After, I asked him what the benefits are to having a strong woman. In his humble imparting-great-wisdom-to-you-in-so-few-words way, he said, "It's nice having someone to help row the boat." Indeed.

As long as you're going the same direction!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Man Carrying Sofa

By Tony Hoagland

Whatever happened to Cindy Morrison, that nice young lesbian?
I heard she moved to the city and got serious.
Traded in her work boots for high heels and a power suit.
Got a healthcare plan and an attorney girlfriend.

Myself, I don’t want to change.
It’s October and I’m still dating my checks July.
I don’t want to step through the doorway of the year.
I’m afraid of something falling off behind me.
I’m afraid my own past will start forgetting me.

Now the sunsets are like cranberry sauce
poured over the yellow hills, and yes,
that beauty is so strong it hurts –
it hurts because it isn’t personal.

But we look anyway, we sit upon our stoops
and stare, — fierce,
like we were tossing down a shot of vodka, straight,
and afterwards, we feel purified and sad and rather Russian.

When David was in town last week,
I made a big show to him of how unhappy I was
because I wanted him to go back and tell Susan
that I was suffering without her –

but then he left and I discovered
I really was miserable
– which made me feel better about myself –
because, after all, I don’t want to go through time untouched.

What a great journey this is,
this ordinary life of ants and sandwich wrappers,
of x-rated sunsets and drive-through funerals.

And this particular complex pain inside your chest;
this damaged longing
like a heavy piece of furniture inside you;
you carry it, it burdens you, it drags you down –
then you stop, and rest on top of it.