Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lost in Transition


Somehow beer supersedes blog posting. For 3.5 years. Tricky. 

This morning was a flutter of activity preparing to receive a large batch of wood, spare oak rounds from a friend whose wood-coffers are full. The wood is for the oven. "What oven?" you ask. The mothafukkin cob oven. You eat out of it. It's badass. When the revolution comes, I will live in my cob oven. 

Still wet, but pretty much finished, late-June. It is now functional.

Speaking of revolution, I keep hearing that's on its way. Something is going to snap, the power will go out, streets will be taken to, and shop windows will preemptively smash themselves. I'm glad to know people with skills; welding, woodworking, food preserving, music making. The latter will be especially important, because how else are you going to enjoy burning your cedar shingles to keep warm?

Speaking of cob building, I've just caught wind of a Neighborhood Permaculture Design Course in my neighborhood. Like, just now I received an e-mail about it. One weekend per month from September through April, for a fairly affordable price. I just might do that. 

Of course, every day I plot a different course for my life. Am I dissatisfied working at a home-brew supply shop, teaching people to make good beer and learning more and more about doing the same? No, certainly not. I take pride in helping people, as well as selling quality ingredients and equipment. I'm happy to create lower-sugar sodas for kids and non-drinkers at the pub (though I'm still making sugary drinks, which is dubious). It's a fact that I'm in a growing marketplace of beer, and that beer is the foundation for civilization. I might just be ready to apply myself elsewhere, on an even more local level, with less focus on selling, more on community; same amount of beer. 

When I first started farming, at Even'Star in St. Mary's County, I was at the farm from January through early June. Most of my days involved weeding, cutting salad, collecting eggs, and preparation for planting. It wasn't until my last day that the strawberries were ripe, and I never got to taste any of the tomatoes I transplanted. My second farm job, at Fern's Edge, I saw through a full four seasons, which included breeding and birthing (though in reverse order, since I came to the farm right before kids were born, and breeding was done late summer). It occurred to me on Sunday that, in order to feel fully connected and see the circuit fully closed, you have to be there for five seasons; think Ouroboros, the snake eating itself; think Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring, which is an outstanding Korean film that really gets this point across. Any new job, lifestyle, location, you enter it childlike, and it's not until you have seen five seasons through that you have absorbed its nuance. By seasons I am more or less referring to actual seasons; the passage of time. You can think of it differently, but my experience at farms and in retail is sliced into seasons. 

I met a man a few days ago who is working on his fourth degree. And I thought I was indecisive. I feel fairly empowered knowing there are people out there who don't want to be categorized into a job, who continually build their knowledge, skill, and experience; the resumé may be a grab-bag, but it sure shows a capacity for learning.

My stars, it's time to go to work. I hope to post here more often. I may have a house and chickens keeping me in Eugene, but I'm still Lost in America. And so can you.

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