I spent 7 weeks in California between June and August recently. I decided to learn some farming and so used the WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farming) network and went to two places called WindTree and StillPoint Zen Community Center. After spending most of my time doing this, I spent a week traveling in California and meeting family. Amongst all the activities I performed through this time, some left more impact on me than others. So I decided to write about some of my observations and realizations about something and everything.
Growing: I enjoy working outdoors with my hands and pushing my body to do more. Growing muscles is great, but not as amazing as growing food. There are several stages to growing food, and my favourite was preparing the soil for sowing. We refrained from using machines so I used my hands a lot. Playing with soil is fun!
Forests: Working in forests is unknown to me and I feel lost. I don't think they need to be disturbed.
New Ecologies: It is fantastically unknown and rare to be a part of the beginning of a new ecology after the death of an old one. Bees, flowers, and butterflies are in abundance at newness. Dead burnt trees stood like old pillars of the past, as a new system emerged right at the feet of the burnt majesty.
Mountains: I miss them.
Shovel: It is my favourite tool. I could spend days shoveling...preparing soil, mixing it, making Cob etc.
Ladders: Working on ladders is easier than it looks.
Watering Hoses: Using hoses is not as easy as it looks. Watering often crushes plants along the way. There are many kinds of pipes and hoses that you can use to save water. A great one is a soaker hose which conserves water and does some good deep watering. Top watering consumes a lot of water.
Care: I care about situations, not things or beings. I cannot love or hate the environment. It just is. Just like beings. And so I care about situations with boundaries that I set within where I can see interconnections, motivations, consequences, and repercussions. Right now I care about problematic ecological and social situations that seem affected by human beings.
Taking sides: No side can be taken for too long.
Learning Lessons: I need to find a way to combine the practical and the influential. To make sure lessons are learnt simultaneously as solutions are created.
Brahman and Maya: They need to be interchanged. Brahman is the essential Maya and Maya must be made the Brahman.
Birds: It is not easy being winged.
Death: It is close and common. Socrates was right when he said that if you are afraid of death you are being arrogant because you think you know what happens once you die. I choose to apply this to other situations in my life as well.
Goats: Are adorable and frustrating...and hard work. They are domesticated just like humans.
Goodbyes: They are not meant to be sad. If they are extra sad, something is wrong.
Communities: They are a place of fulfillment, action, and motivation. It is very difficult to maintain horizontalness within them
The Pacific Ocean: Is the bluest ocean I have ever seen.
Dirt: Dirt is not dirty. In cities it is. But we forget that dirt is not dirty on a farm, or in a forest.
Vanishing: Is all about yourself in a most selfish manner.
Family: Mine cares. Everywhere.
House: I will build my own house and you are most welcome to come and help me build it. Slowly and soon I wish to move away from the urban life.
Home: There is no home. But temporarily special places may be called home while living there. Once you leave and come back, it is a memory of a home.
Moments: Every moment has only just passed and no matter how aware I was of it, I am never sure if it was just a dream.
Connections: There are special things, people, and places.
Some seeds have been sowed and I can only hope they grow well. I hope they receive just the right amount of water, have good soil, are pruned right, and are harvested at the right time.
Thank you WindTree, Stillpoint Zen, Family in California, and family elsewhere.