Roosters and Restrooms

Today we spent the morning clearing blackberry bushes from the apple orchard. The vines are one hundred percent thorny, and stick to you as strong as velcro.

It was pouring rain and muddy all morning, but when we got to the site our project manager told us that we would have the afternoon off. Which made all the difference.

So we dug up and stabbed ourselves with blackberry plants for the next four hours.

The particularly entertaining part about this was there was about forty or so chickens and roosters in the field with us. They would crow and make lots of noise. And run away as a pack when you walked across the field. But then every once in awhile, while you’re under a tree focused on ripping these plants out of the ground, they would come up to you. One or two at first, then when the others saw it was safe they would all scurry over as a pack.

I left my day job for about ten minutes or so to become the bird whisperer. I went over, inching toward these two chickens. There was one in particular I really wanted to get close to- the other one I didn’t really take any notice of.

Somehow this is always how life works, though. As soon as I started inching closer the one that I was focused on ran away, and the one I had overlooked stayed still, and just looked at me in fearless interest.

I had a moment with that chicken, and it inspired me. That chicken changed my life today.

It was something about the shape of its eyes. They were so human. I could see so much story. And I personified that chicken into every person I’ve ever wanted to write about in my life.

And I realized that I still want to write about all those people. And those chickens.

And Carinne came over, and everyone started laughing at the circle of birds I had around me. And she told me that I looked in my element at that point. That I haven’t looked like I was loving anything this year until that quiet moment with a bird.

And I realized that animals are still so important to me. I’ve kind of swept them off my plate because I feel like they are a bit part of being a kid, not being an adult. But if getting on the level with another species and really taking the time to be present with it is childish, then maybe we all need a little more immaturity in our lives.

Do you believe there are treasures in the ocean?

My team leader is currently tearing through the cupboards for illegal substances right now. This is some hippie dippy shit we’ve gotten ourselves into, and people from all over the world stay in this house, and leave their food and belongings they don’t want when they leave. We have tons of bags of unidentified herbs and natural remedies that we know not about.


Definitely shouldn’t eat the brownies at the farmers’ parties.

I just went for a jog, and then took at shower. I take my laptop in the shower, turn calming music on, and turn the water heat up to defrost after a wet morning outside. I’ve really set the mood- this is my time to relax.

Then, about a minute after I get in, one of my teammates is banging on the door. We only have one working bathroom, in case I didn’t mention before. And she has to pee.

So I’m like, come on it! I actually forgot to close the door all the way anyway.

And then, half a minute in, she says that she’s not just going to pee now. That this is happening. And my hair stands straight up as I realize that she is shitting right next to me.

It goes on for quite awhile, but she’s committed to it now and can’t stop. And then she realizes that she is on her period. “Who knew?!” We share this moment as she stands up to turn on the fan for me.

After all this is over, she realizes that the toilet is clogged. I continue showering, what else can I do? She takes the plunger, and really goes at it for quite a long time. Lots of noises.

Finally it flushes, and she’s about to head out. She turns off the fan, and says she’s going to turn my music up on my laptop.

“NO THANKS!” I scream in panic.

“It’s okay, I got it…”

“Have you washed YOUR HANDS!?!”

Turns out she washed them when the fan was on. Who really knows. This is my life now. I love these people.

Just yesterday I was talking to another teammate about when we thought we’d be comfortable enough to shit and shower with one another.

And today that question became a reality.

Look at us, moving up in the world.

One other thing I want to mention here: the idea of locked doors, or even closed doors is not a thing here.

People just walk straight in our house. I know that it is technically their property, but that’s the thing here. Everything is everyone’s property. Everything is communally owned. A much different perspective than I’ve ever experienced before. Seemed a bit rude at first, just walking in on people, but now I see it more as respect and humanity. We’re all just people, you don’t need that much privacy really. We are such a private culture in America, but little pockets like this exist that completely negate the idea of personal. It’s all communal. It’s all us.

Last night people were in and out after we fell asleep using our washing machine.

This is my life right now.

This is my lovely, shit and nudity filled life.

It’s time to write that book about those chickens.


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