This place is amazing. These people are amazing. This way of life is amazing. God is awesome.
After the first week of apprentice training, which was pretty great, there has been a lot going on here. I’ve been planting fruit and nut trees, I built a staircase, I gutted and cleaned out a room in the workshop to make room for our new bike shop, I felled an Osage Orange tree and started working on making a bow from a piece of the tree, I harvested some amazing morel mushrooms, I’ve taken on a couple of the daily chores including collecting eggs and making sure the chickens and ducks are safe for the night, and I’ve also been a part of lots of other things. Other folks have been planting things in the gardens, pruning fruit trees, planting grain in a newly prepared field, cutting firewood, cooking amazing meals, taking care of the animals, doing small building and repair projects, helping out a couple of the neighbors on their farms, and lots of other things.
A couple of nights a week we’ve been having discussions about various things including: Gandhi and his values of non-violence, simplicity, and the value of providing for our needs from the land and our own physical labor; and the Japan nuclear catastrophe and its global impact.
There were a couple of visitors this weekend and it was great to be able to host them, connect with them, encourage them and be encouraged by them. They were a family from New York and the guy has been friends with Ethan (one of the founding members of the Possibility Alliance) since they were like 5 years old. One of the family members was Zach, who is 9 years old and he really came alive when he was here. It was great to see him get excited about being closer to nature as he’s spent most of his life in the city.
There has been a good deal of talking around here about the Japan nuclear crisis and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I’ve heard that the effects of this event will be global and I’ve heard that the US Government either has changed or is in the process of changing its standards for safe levels of radiation exposure because of the crisis in Japan. I’ve also heard some pretty radical claims that there basically won’t be any truely safe sources of food for the next 600 years because of the global spread of radioactivity. I’ve also heard that global cancer rates are expected to increase as a direct result of this nuclear disaster. Meanwhile, there are still nuclear plants running all over the world, producing more and more radiactive material that will remain extremely dangerously radiactive for thousands of years. How do we respond to all of this. Do we just keep doing business as usual and ignore all of the terrible and widespread effects of this latest nuclear disaster, or do we act now to prevent future disasters from happening by shutting down our production of nuclear power? I don’t know what the high level decisions will be, but I know that as individuals, we can use less power, buy fewer things, buy locally, get our power from different sources, learn more about where our stuff comes from, and do something about it. If we all do a little something, it will add up to a big something.
Anyway, I’ve been having a great time and learning a lot and I’ve been getting a lot stronger from doing things with my hands and with hand tools. Its all been pretty great and I feel very alive. We had a Passover celebration last week and an Easter celebration yesterday and it has been really great to share our traditions and help encourage each other to connect more with the divine that is in everything.