Orchard Alone

I’ve had a great day in the trees by myself.

Back in the orchard by myself over lunch break- chased by chickens. Literally. They were coming at me, and pecking after my feet and then running after me as I started quickly walking away. Twenty chickens after you- a little more surprising experience than you might imagine. It must be feeding time.

Way home from lunch twenty five young cows right up at the low fence, staring over directly into my eyes. All twenty five of them. Mostly black, one brown on in the mix.

Tried to take a picture, but it didn’t work out so well. You had to be there. They are beautiful and powerful.

One lone chicken is marching straight toward me again. Brave.

I decided yesterday I was a chicken.

My spirit animal.

I’m not sure why, but I feel this connection to them- more than any of the other animals here. Maybe that’s from years of peacocks. Maybe I just really am a chicken at heart.

And chickens don’t get enough credit. They do run when you scare them, but they also are quite forward and persistentent on getting what they want. The hungry chickens a case and point.

Today, pruning in teh morning I was really proud of myself. I finally used the outhouse out in the field, overlooking the stream. I’ve been ocd and terrified of using that old thing for the past month, but yesterday decided that it didn’t matter anymore. Not that day, at least.

And the same with climbing the trees. Haven’t been in a tree the whole time we’ve been pruning, until yesterday when I daringly sat in one.

And then today, the sitting seemed so easy that I stood up on the tree branches and pruned. Keep your three points of balance. And I kind of loved it.

All alone in my own tree in the back, trimming through the jungle. Pruning trees is similar to cutting hair, I’m actually really starting to enjoy it. The trees I couldn’t stand in the beginning- now I love in this summer Februrary sunshine.

So I shat by a stream, and worked up high in a tree.

Everything at its appointed time.

My teammate Ricky had a really good quote he shared yesterday morning which was:

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking it is stupid.” -Albert Einstein.

And that’s how I feel about the trees, the outhouse, the chickens, the everything. I am not fearless, but I conquer my fears at the appointed time. Can’t expect me to jump in a tree the first day we’re here– that’s not who I am. But give me a month. And then give me a day off by myself in the corner of the orchard– and I’ve found magic in the branches.

Making my own story right now. TIme for a month or so of separation. Peacing out for the rest of this spike, finding the peace that I can hold constant from now on in life. Coexisting. Balance. Leaving room for a writer’s heart and a well crafted story.

Really into nature today. It’s like I’m just flowing into it. Maybe that’s part of the gift of my anxiety attacks, I get so separated from reality and the world that when I come back down, it all seems so easy and flows and I appreciate the puddles of water, the blades of grass, the mud between my toes.

Day #5 without deodorant. It’s starting to be completely fine! Nice, natural smell. Evening itself out.

Today at work a jackrabbit bounded out of the grass as we walked across it– ears as big as its body. And so strong! And then the brown deer running past us on our way to work– they have the face and build of a kangaroo– except with longer front arms and on all fours. They are so wide and strong compared to the thin and gazelle-like deers of the midwest.

Going to get deep from now on during my social time. Ask the hard questions, the interesting questions that I actually want to hear answers from I remembered this today, and had many intriguing and thought provoking questions. In the same place I was when I worked at the coffee shop, and I took every chance to get a beer with a stranger as an insight into the mystery of life itself.

If I have to be social– one on ones are what I love and get energy and inspiration from.

Talked with Peter while we were making dinner about coffee, meth, weed and then holistic healing centers. Talked about how corporations have a reason they don’t want people pursing holistic and precentative health- because they make more money off treating problems than solving them.

The mysterious man next door. We don’t know him, and Jess decided last night that she was going to go over and interview him. And she is so brave in that. I was telling her a story from my college experience today. There was this really cool guy I met my freshman year who was very passionate about social justice, world politics and activism. And I was so intrigued, and would have loved to have been friends with him. But I needed my friends and peers to like him first. And when they didn’t, and thought he was weird for giving a shit about the world, I shut him out as well.

Looking back I don’t see why it was such a big deal– why I was so insecure about my social stranding that I couldn’t make myself happy and pursue what I wanted to. Getting better at this, but still not as excellent at it as Jess is. I have a lot to learn from her in this area. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks– she associates with who she will, whenever she feels like it or is interested. She goes to those hard to reach people and pursues it, regardless of general perception.

So anyway, our neighbor who lives the closest to us than anyone else here– no one knows anything about him. Not even his name. And we see him almost daily. Jess asked Ella aobut him today, and she said that they didn’t get along, and attempted to deter Jess a bit.

But Jess is still going over this week with tea and cookies.

By the way, shoutout to my mom for the wonderful cookies she sent us for Valentines day. I ate half the bag while talking to her, and then went and put them out in the kitchen and they were completely gone in the morning. Delicious. My teammates love you.

So I helped make dinner last night– grilled cheese and tomato soup. Tray was the cook– he’s an elderly man with few words and lots of salt.

There was also Nancy, who is a retired woman who just joined the community recently.

Then there was Sam, who is dating a community member, but hasn’t been accepted into the community yet. He’s been trying for the past two years.

There was definitely some tension between these three parties, and I was in the middle of it after a long day in the sun pruning trees.

People were handing my butter brushes to paint the bread, and other people were taking the brushes away from me. And then there was the cook who was telling everyone to stop buttering, and then five minutes later one of the others were on a rampage to get every last piece of bread in the house buttered before they took their next breath.

Kind of funny. Wish I could write more on it.

A lot of weird half conversations also took place— nothing really groundbreaking. But lots of great human tension that I might write about later as character practice.

Then I talked to Peter about Vietnam over tea. He joined the war when he was 19 to “save the world from communism” and came back to being shunned and called a baby killer at hoome.

We talked about world news, and he said what he learned from his involvement in Vietname is, “If you find yourself getting emotional during the news- then it is controlling you. Step back and choose what you want to focus on, don’t let them choose for you.”

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