Back in Olympia

A view of Mt. Jefferson in the Cascades Range.  We took a beautiful 3-day hike as we returned home to ground and revitalize us.
A view of Mt. Jefferson in the Cascades Range. We took a beautiful 3-day hike as we returned home to ground and revitalize us.

It’s been about a month and we’ve begun to settle back into the green, wet Pacific Northwest.  We’re piecing together a new routine and trying to make sure our busy schedules don’t wall us off to the huge, huge world we’ve just experienced.  Today is Federica’s birthday and also her second day of school at the Evergreen State College where she is enrolled in an interdisciplinary Ecological Agriculture program.  I have been volunteering at the Olympia Food Co-op and with the new Arbutus Folk School here in Olympia as we settle into our new home on an organic farm.  We found our beautiful place through at friend at the Quaker meeting who actually grew up with folks I met in college in North Carolina.  The world is so very small and so very large, as my friend Walker says. (for those who are curious, Walker reported a successful voyage from the farm to Istanbul using the bike cart, and you can follow his further exploits here.)

These are the freshly harvested squash rows at the Kiwanis Food Bank Garden, where we are making our home in Olympia.  We hope to get trained to volunteer soon!
These are the freshly harvested squash rows at the Kiwanis Food Bank Garden, where we are making our home in Olympia. We hope to get trained to volunteer soon!

It’s been a big transition to jump from the beautiful bounty of our half-finished harvest to school, pouring rain, and looser ends 5,500 miles away.   I’d call it existential whiplash.  But important themes still connect and ground us across the distance: We are living again on a beautiful farm in a neighborhood of farms, nurseries and rural consciousness.  We are still organizing to build local networks, share skills and harvest the bounty only community can provide.  And most importantly we are still convinced that through ecological and social justice we can build a stronger future wherever we may be, regardless of political shenanigans, economic hardships and failures of the state.  While sometimes very genuine barriers of distance and culture divide us from each other, why do we waste time building other walls in our politics, online or in our personal lives?  I’m reflecting on Robert Frost today:

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know/ What I was walling in or walling out, / And to whom I was like to give offense.”

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