CHAPTER 1: Farm Rap

The crew moves & acts (together):
One organism, distinct legs.
Leapfrogging about one another,
In a hive of activity,
Sometimes (chicken) chatter.
We scratch the ground with our bare hands.
We dig into it – working, massaging the soil.
We worship the ground.
On the farm
We are
On the farm
(Time slows down. Dirt is constant.)

I think up a lot of stuff 2 do while in the field.
I’ve become quiet (introverted: focused inward)
…almost somber.
But it helps me continue to clear, clarify & cleanse.
I AM> focusing my energy.
& yet releasing grip…
(go with the flow, you know?)
Simply be.

Yet the child – my child, mind child seeks distraction.
But I set that little girl down here in the dirt.
On the Farm
We are
On Farm Head Space
Here for our vegetables.
“Here. Now,” I tell her,
With an implied,
“You ain’t goin’ nowhere ’til you’re finished.”
At first difficulty the child screams (tantrum)!
But thyme grows on us (silence prevails; discomfort passes).
Somethings always new or changing.
Somethings always the same.
Cluck Cluck is learning to Cock-a-doodle – a garbled call
(The lotus unfolds) the kid is quiet.

Come evening,
My mind breaks along with the body,
Too exhausted & scattered to go pecking around @ misc. tasks.
I just surrender (to what is).
Sleeping (deep) because I work (so very hard) to serve.
The thoughts still bob in my brain (seeds of worry?)
Coming & going (more freely).
Release them; Do Not Water!
They clutter the nature of what is!
In stopping resistance, you embrace being.
So that abundance enfolds you in its loving arms!
On the path, you are.
Been a week – two – three –
Four since I came (Like Whoa, And How!?)
Slow go – or so go(-ne)?
I thought
When was it (timely)?
I (appropriate) am here.
My body continues
An evolution of blisters & scratches, itching & callousing,
Taking care – my vessel knows. I let it,
Because last night Venus held the sky (Milky Way her backdrop).
It was deep – sublime!
Each one, I thought – though I knew it not by a name –
held its place in the heavens (it belonged).
Something familiar there.

I’m drinkin’ cold mate: cream & honey.
I am so nourished (Thank You bacon),
Body working hard,
Learnin’ the satisfaction of a rigorous days work in the earth (worship).
I rake the land with my hands.
I feel real (grounded).
There is dirt under my fingernails.
It is worked into the creases of my skin.
Tasks are beautiful in their simplicity (a moving meditation):
Hand-weeding, stirrup-hoeing, laying hay (all rhythmic routine).
No need for perfection, (basically) its all squiggly lines!
We make organic, squirrelly bunches – yum!
[I am inspired!]
As my body finds rhythm – it hums!
Sometimes I don’t even think!
Vision: emerges (well being).
I am the tiniest ant, but also infinite!
Evident, giving (we harvest), sharing the labor to create a
Sanctuary of Spirit (TRANSPARENCE).

CEREMONY: Happy Camp

Matake Oyasin is a Lakota expression that means, “For all my Relations.” This includes the sun, moon & stars – all things! I am reading a book by Caroline Casey where she expresses this idea that, “we want to become completely involved in the responsibility of shaping reality for the greater good of all our relations.” This includes all that we do: in public and in private! She quotes an old Sufi story to remind us that “…if it weren’t for the hidden work of those who pray, imagine, dream & act compassionately when the opportunity presents itself, things would be much worse [than they are].” It is important to remember that we are active participants in community.

Ceremony plays an important role in unifying a community. Ceremony, as defined by Casey, is a group ritual demonstrating the will of the people. It is a form of theater that helps us visualize and experience what we want to make reality; it is a token rite grounding our intention in a physical act. A theatrical element is part of the ritual that helps our experience become reality. And so it is.

Without knowing it, I found myself in ceremony at the Un-Dam the Klamath Music & Arts Festival. This took place on my first weekend on the farm, up in the mountains at a town called Happy Camp! I was with new peers (we call ourselves interns). Zack (better known as Shady Brady), the physics teacher from Illinois split an Indian taco with me. Russell immediately jumped in to help paint salmon on a huge wood panel down the hill.

At first the audience was pretty sparse. There was, of course, one woman who sat on the lawn all day: an avid audience member. She was a mystic type who didn’t care what anyone thought and contentedly danced her own dance. She was vocal too and responded to the performances candidly, for all of us really. We became acquainted as fellow audience members witnessing the afternoon together; we were in fellowship.

The playground had an excellent springy whale, which flung me willy-nilly for quite some time… until someone pulled me onto the dance floor. We jived around, enjoying the music and ourselves. The mystic lady moved about all wrangly, doing her thing beside me. Then, leaning in to address my partner, she demanded, “Take your shoes off! Feel the EARTH under your feet!” while stomping her foot several times! She repeated this command, always with the stomping! The girl refused, insisting, “I do what I want! You can’t tell me what to do!” My shoes were off! I just laughed! Mystic lady turned to me and said, “You don’t need that! Find someone who will take their shoes off and feel the EARTH under their feet! You have got to feel the EARTH under your feet!”

Another attraction was chopper bikes! They had one really super small wheel attached to extremely long forks, making it most difficult to mount and ride, especially on the grassy terrain. I watched people ride them down the hill and nabbed the first one that became available when one of the kids lost interest. After several attempts on the back lawn I got the thing rolling and took off around the grounds, becoming a participant in the current of energy!

The goal that brought everyone together on that weekend was re-allocating resources to benefit all by letting the river flow freely. This would especially benefit the salmon, whose ecosystem was disrupted by dams. There was a strong Karuk Indian presence at the gathering because the Klamath River is the lifeblood of their native land. The native people bring an important perspective focused on creating a sustainable balance. Their influence was evident in the arts, traditional music and tacos.

After several musical acts, a Karuk man stood up on stage and spoke from his heart about the matters facing us all, but specifically the local community and their fight to bring down the Iron Gate Dam. He asserted that our will, be reality! His genuine enthusiasm was a crucial part of the transformative magic. He invited us to take part – every man – for it is all our land! He spoke for our posterity! It was certainly a moving speech and I was touched to see someone breaching cultural boundaries for a common purpose. All one. Come together. I felt a shift in the energy after he spoke and as the night rolled in: feelings of comfort and unity.

The music continued with a woman playing songs about rivers. The audience increased, as did their energy level! More relaxed and playful in my fig leaf skirt, I went over and sat beside Russ. He made me nervous; I had a lot of affection for him even then. I sensed that we had a similar understanding of what the day’s events meant on an energetic level, whereas others didn’t notice these subtleties. This is part of the intuitive connection that seems like it was already well formed when we met. Mystic lady was around again. We were dancing around and she turned to Russ, “Take off your shoes! Feel the EARTH under your feet!” Simple: he complied. She was elated. She turned and told me, “This one is a keeper!”

Finally, we were presented with the most striking shared visualization of the event. A symbolic school of salmon swam up in front of the stage. These were children in costume, dancing around with fish on their heads. There was one huge mother fish that was made up of about twelve kids. It was similar in style to a parade with Chinese dragons. The whole dance was narrated by a local gentleman playing the guitar on stage. His song told a story of the salmon wanting to be set free! The presentation grabbed everyone’s attention and the energy skyrocketed! The school of fish gathered their momentum swimming up and down the lawn, until they finally rammed a big PVC-framed wall of fabric that read “Iron Gate Dam!” They pushed against it repeatedly until the whole thing came crashing down! Everyone cheered them on the whole way! The audience served an important purpose by reflecting enthusiasm. We were important participants in this ceremonial dance! Woo-hoo!

INTRO: Hoe Down!

So I am presently here & very calm, content, peaceful about this place. Before the farm internship came about I was a bit anxious, even though floating on the wind in such a breezy free-fall was exhilarating! But I let all the baggage of that flow, because after working four hard farm days I know… how to use a hoe. 😉

I have found a connection to the internet, nestled here at the Somes Bar Outpost, which seems to be the only building in Somes Bar… all the locals are here. So is the yogurt… amongst other pantry necessities. There is a little boy named Casey running around in here right now and his mom keeps calling our name!!

I have been doing nothing but work (weed) work (mulch) work (hoe) intermingled with stints of nap (sleep) eat (harvest) eat (munchie on the grind-age) nap (sleep). There\’s dirt under my nails. And caked on my skin. This morning I took a dip on the skinny in the Salmon River. I can\’t say enough about it – the Salmon is a truly cleansing, clarifying experience. Wilson creek provides the farm with water. It is an icy treat to bathe in – most refreshing! We never get that squeaky clean of the city folk. There is always just a bit of rustic in the crease of my skin keeping me grounded – to remind me of my worship. There is free reign to harvest the food that I one needs. The orchard is especially delightful. Everyone takes note as the peach tree comes around.

When we work the fields, whatever task it is, we do it all together, jumping around one another (each at our individual pace & rhythm) teeming, a hive of energy until the task is complete. And then there is just another one.

The moon just turned from wax to wane and it has risen up full and bright orange (smoke) late in the evening. Our anticipation builds as it climbs the ridge to reach us! We have hula hoops and cougars in this canyon!

The farm is a welcome relief from having nowhere to be. This is safe, satisfying & simple – a labor of love. This is my cleansing. This is my meditation. I plant myself here with patience & stamina to unfold onto my path. I cultivate self knowing on my own terms & all my relations flow from that spring of well being. I find myself dwelling in my heart & manifesting magic in my life experiences. And I leave what is to come: possible. As I surrender, my potential is unlocked. I invite opportunity, find sacred space (conscious conversations with our selves), create a God gateway.

I learn the gifts of ritual & ceremony (I must elaborate on this later). And begin to define & practice these rites for myself – in my personal god language – which strengthens the unique quality of my energy/vibration/passion/gateway: an individual’s expression of the whole: all one: freedom. When we look one another in the eyes; when our energies overlap to create greater clarity: we are mirroring ourselves/our-hearts in one another.

We know that all is,
And so it is.

8/19/21: Continuing on with my memory of this excellent story of my life…

I returned to the Arcata farmers market and inquired to see if anyone was looking for a hand. I was lucky to meet Von and Claudia and be accepted as an intern on their farm in Orleans. They picked me up at the Finnish Hot Tubs and Sauna and drove me three hours inland.

There I was given my own tent with a mattress- a welcome luxury. There were a handful of other interns who shared a three walled outdoor kitchen by the chicken coop. We worked a lot of hours, ate a lot of food and slept as often as we could- including the afternoon nap! Every day we alternated who would cook lunch. I remember Claudia serving us whole boiled and skinned beets and whole skinned cucumbers. I remember them being delicious and gobbling them down!

When you walked into the farmhouse there were bundled of lavender covering the ceiling and a huge picture window overlooking the rows of crops.

There was a barn where garlic and onions had been pulled and were laid out to dry. We bundled them and hung them and filled flat rate priority mail boxes to send home to our family.

There was a small stream that ran down the hill from the kitchen with ice cold water.

We spend hours doing singular tasks in the fields. The upper field between the kitchen and the main house had peppermint and chamomile and all the herbs you could imagine. There were several rows of tomatoes that we would train onto their supports and savor tasting as we harvested. Down below half of the field was filled with rosemary. I remember having to fill about a dozen boxes with bundles of rosemary sprigs. We probably spent 8 hours just cutting rosemary that day and all had our sheers and fingers covered in resin by days end. I remember sneaking off to the edge of the field to pick some blackberries when the day was running long. When the figs came in we climbed ladders and learned to eat the ones that were too ripe to travel well.

Friday was harvest day and we would fill boxes of basil, rosemary and whatever else was ready. In the wee morning hours, Von and Claudia would pack up the truck and drive it three hours down to Arcata to sell at the market.