What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
Henry David Thoreau
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
This place is a trip.
The Farm has always had an open visitor policy. It's pretty far out to meet the 300 or so people who come through in a season. They are all unique. Each one learns something here, and we learn something from them.
One thing they have in common is that they are all searching for something.
There do seem to be a few broad categories they fall into though;
The Idealist says "Hi, I just became a vegetarian, and I've decided your lifestyle is perfect for me. I want to be a member and live there forever." People in this category seem to think we have all the answers, that we are spiritually evolved beyond the ego that Humanity mind-fucks itself with, and that we dance in the flowers with the unicorns all day. They are typically crushed when they figure out that we work, we do stupid selfish things like all the other humans, and that ultimately they need to take responsibility for creating their own perfect reality. Bummer, man.
I used to fall into this category, and I STILL haven't seen a unicorn. WTF?
The Last Option says "Hi, I just lost my job, my house, my family hates me and I've burned all the rest of my bridges. Can I come live with you?" These people are desperate. They usually have drug, alcohol, or mental problems (or all of the above) It is hard to get them to leave. Even telling them directly that their visit is over doesn't work well. They find a way to weasel a few more days out of us "I'm waiting for my disability check to be sent here. It's in the mail." They seem to believe that if they just hang around long enough we'll let them stay. We're not Nazis, but eventually they get escorted to a new location (kinda like pesky 'coons)
The Privileged have never had to cook anything more complex than a Hot Pocket. They don't understand that Mommy isn't here to pick up after them. They get miffed when expected to sleep on a mattress on the floor *gasp* or ride bitch in a pickup truck, or do any sort of manual labor. They usually leave kinda pissed after a couple days because we make them wash dishes (using hot water and soap, of all things)and the Farm doesn't stock Hot Pockets. We don't have a microwave either.
The Wary but Interested generally have their shit together. They know society is fucked up and are tired of it. They are looking for a better way to be. They come with resources and an open mind. They are considerate of others. They gather information and make an educated decision about whether community is right for them. They don't often stay, but it's usually a good thing when they do.
The Drifters usually come unannounced or last minute. They are an eclectic mix of homeless, eco-terrorists, Deadheads, Rainbow Family, hitchhiking weed trimming hippies. A very few of them are total wack-jobs, but they're generally cool, always have interesting stories, are usually very willing to work, and grateful for whatever food and shelter we provide. I have a lot more respect now for homeless hitchhiking gutter punks. Say what you will, but they are resourceful and don't ask for much. They hang out for a while, then drift off to the next Rainbow gathering/harvest season/music festival.
The Tourists take lots of pictures. They have a passing interest in community, but mostly just wanna see flowers and naked hippies. If asked to work, they stand there and take pictures of us working. Field trips and media articles/documentaries fall into this category too. They don't usually stay long, but I feel like an exotic zoo animal while they're here.
The Disenchanted Gen-Xers are out there, but I'd like to see more of them. They have skills and a burning hatred for the system that ass-raped them repeatedly and left them for dead. They will work their butts off because they believe so strongly in building a better system. Sometimes they have anger issues, and can be very judgmental. My buddy Demon falls into this category, and so do I. "Zach" just showed up from this category too. Sometimes they try so hard they burn themselves out. That's what happened to Chef, and is happening to Demon.
I better watch that one. It'll be fine. "Relax and have fun" is at the top of my 'to do' list.
Visitors of any type are often scheduled to work in the Garden, since that is one of the few supervised areas that always has work to do. Trial by pitchfork is a decent way to test their mettle, but I gotta watch 'em pretty close, and give very specific instructions. (Twist the cucumber and gently pull at a 90 degree angle to the vine...don't just PULL) Sometimes it's wildly amusing to watch homeless anarchists have conversations with momma's boys fresh out of the basement. Sometimes visitors have amazing insights about society in general and the human condition.
Sometimes I need to confirm the identity of a lemon for them. But at least they leave the farm with the ability to correctly identify citrus.
Always I learn again that I am very judgmental (and often anti-social). I'm working on that.
The renewal of the social order, we now see, must begin with
We seek to change our basic assumptions and patterns of daily living; to
accomplish this we must alter our patterns of thought. We must live
ourselves into the future we seek.