Sunday, September 4, 2011

frogsong in cotati

while at rachels i read a little magazine called 'ripples', which is put out by this awesome organization called daily acts. in it i found there was a free permaculture workshop happening in cotati on saturday. cotati is between petaluma and sebastopol, so it worked out great for me to stop there on the way. i took my time, shopping for work clothes and tools, having a mug of mate at hardcore espresso, and picking up useful things like work gloves and a bandana on the side of the highway. so i didn't end up arriving at the permaculture site, a public park in cotati, until they were just finishing up. they had had plenty of hands there, so i felt alright about missing it. i was able to help a little bit with cleanup and during that time i met a guy who said i might be able to stay the night where he lives!

the cohousing community where this man lives is called frogsong. it an excellent example of more sustainable urban development and there are many wonderful people living there. i got to stay in one of their two guest rooms and was invited to dinner by another one of the residents. they served coho salmon, quinoa/rice, and vegetables from the garden.
the evening i was there was the night the man is burned at the burningman festival. at frogsong they burn a figure of a frog made by one of the residents and then project the streaming video of the burningman event. i drummed with them and danced around the fire. they also showed my short film, 'loopforms'! i got a lot of positive response.
people were so nice to me and i felt very comfortable and relaxed at frogsong. most of the people i talked to knew about green string farm because they had been invited to a dinner there and currently get a lot of the produce for shared meals from the farm.
ways i gave back included:
-pruning lavender and freeing some rose bushes from a choking ground cover
-giving a small package of dried bullwhip kelp to my dinner hosts
-sharing my short film
-tidying up in the kitchen and courtyard of the community building

this was a most wonderful final destination for this first leg of the HOOP TOUR!

Friday, September 2, 2011

thorn junction -> redwoods -> willits -> sebastopol

sometimes i'm occupied with other things and sometimes there is no internet available for blogging. so i've gotten pretty behind. but i want you all to know basically how things are going and where i am.
things are going GREAT and i am going to arrive in petaluma tomorrow evening. the internship at Green String Farm starts on sunday!

(note: this is just an outline that i intend to fill in more details in later)

i spent a week in thorn junction with folks who are close with my mother. it was a very restful and fulfilling time. i swam and bathed in a stream and small river. one day we spent the afternoon at an ocean beach boogie-boarding!

while in arcata i'd heard about an event at richardson grove to honor the trees. there i met some first nations elder women and lots of other nice folks. some folks joined with me as i sang a joules graves song of healing to close the ceremony. i am mention in an article, and there are more photos here!
i swam in the eel river, which was nice, but not the nicest since it currently has slimy algae growing in it and floating around.
at the end of the event a woman showed up who was on her way south to the santa cruz area via 101. i took the opportunity and we ended up camping in the woods near ecology action.

i spent one day working in the garden at ecology action with the awesome interns there. the next day i was recruited for a trip out to 'the coast site', where i did some double-digging of some very hard earth along with a couple good guys. the coordinator of this research garden took us out for burgers at mendo burgers in mendocino. i decided to go without the bun and instead sandwiched it between a couple sturdy leaves of lettuce. yay!

wednesday i got a ride with a guy from ecology action to santa rosa. we had the best conversation along the way... my friend toni had recommended going to sebastopol, so i rode the bike trail between santa rosa and there, called the joe rodota trail, and arrived around 7:30pm.
stayed with a guy who i'd met on the trail. he let me stay in the 'man cave', which was like a little music studio with a clubhouse feel. there was a pear tree right outside the door that was dropping it's gifts all over the hard ground which i took as a sign of support.

the next day i used the computer at the sebastopol library and then used the phone at whole foods to call a friend who lives in SF. she recommended that i check out this eco-village called 'green valley village'. so outside the whole foods i asked the first folks who seemed likely to know, and one of them, coincidentally, was living at that very community! i was in a hurry but had me call his partner to see about visiting. his friend was in less of a hurry and helped me with the use of her i-phone. when it didn't seem to be panning out to visit the eco-village i asked 'can i come help you in YOUR garden?' and got an enthusiastic 'yes!'. she drew me a little map and i rode there while she drove to her little home amidst an apple orchard on green valley rd.

rachel was so kind to open up her home to me, and we found we had many common interests. we meditated together, shared good food (which i prepared for us), and worked in the garden. we also attended a tri yoga class on friday morning. i ended up staying with rachel two nights, sleeping on her porch with the sublime padding of a doubled-over sheepskin. i made mint sun tea and hung some of the mint to dry in her little cottage.

arcata and patrick's point

i hung around in orick for the first half of the day. i was invited by a friend of my host to go see his camp by the river. he has built a few little shelters out of willows, sand, found materials, and tarps. the joy he took in creating this for himself and his girlfriend was apparent and i was happy he'd shared it with me. how he was doing things was exciting to me as an example of a person getting creative with this difficult situation of homelessness. making the best of it. we sat and talked for a while there before heading back to the house for lunch.

it was my host's birthday, and as i headed off to arcata he was about to drive over to a friend's place to pick up a huge salmon that she had caught and was giving to him. he was rightfully very stoked.

i arrived at 'the green house' in arcata just as my friends, of the band shenandoah davis, were getting there. hugs and howdies. i was invited then to stay the night, just as i hoped would be the case. almost the first thing i did was go out a pick leaves and blossoms from the very lush growth of nasturtiums. the garden in the back yard held some nice heads of lettuce and mature arugula. in another spot kale, chard, and artichoke had been recently planted.
i took initiative in the kitchen and ended up being the only one besides danah, the cellist, cooking a simple, vegan meal for everyone. i thought i was just going to be a helper, but i was glad to have the honor of taking the lead. sharing food is a component of house shows i value greatly.
the music was a wonderful celebration of sound. the small audience was obviously soothed as i was. the dancing i did was mostly in spirit.

the next day was another cosmic day. this girl kristen drove us from arcata up to this little state park, patrick's point, where there is some sacred ground of the yurok tribe, and where there is a reconstructed yurok village i wanted to check out.
while sitting up on this huge 'ceremonial rock' i played the mbira i've brought on this trip and kristen played her singing bowls. we also meditated in silence, basking in the sun. a man came up while we were there. he asked us if we knew about this place's significance, and told us what he knew. said it is where two tectonic plates meet. a special energetic spot. meeting of the male and female aspects, where the people would come to have their marriages. our spirits proceeded to connect deeply and we talked about a lot of things, relating our experiences on the path, and about how we see this evolution of consciousness coming. he is about 50 and is from france, traveling from montreal to san diego currently. he had gotten a free beach cruiser along the way and was riding some, bussing some, staying at hiker-biker sites. having a totally cosmic, syncronistic experience similar to mine.during our hours together we shared food with him at his camp site and sat on another of the rock formations and talked while the sun did beautiful things with the clouds as it dipped towards the ocean. we parted with warm embraces.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

riding the redwoods

after the night at the beach i made my way through the wonderful section of northern california coast between crescent city and orick. there are a couple challenging climbs, but the big trees one slowly passes lend encouragement and thimbleberries provide some sustenance.

in crescent city i stopped to get some water at a donut shop. their apple fritters looked really good, but i resisted, reminding myself how many nutritional points they have against them... refined flour, refined sugar, probably fried in veggie oil (used to be healthier with lard), conventional fruit. i remember eating these occasionally on the trip i made down the coast in 2003. my favorite. but now i'm more of a wild berry kind of guy!

when i passed through klamath, on the reservation there, i stopped at a little place that sells smoked salmon. there i was able to learn a bit from a woman about the yurok people's, and her family's, history. she accepted my gift of dried bullwhip kelp on behalf of the tribe. i brought several packages, intending to give gifts to as many tribes as i could along the way in thanks for their people showing us a way to live symbiotically with the earth. so far this was the first opportunity i found.
i bought some smoked salmon and i was given a little extra.
as i rode on i realized i'd left my water bottle back before klamath, outside the cafe across from the 'trees of mystery' tourist site. it was about five miles back, but i decided to go get it and take the opportunity to see the museum there. the woman at the salmon shop had said i should check it out, but i had already passed it... funny twist of fate. so i spent over an hour there looking through the collection of this 90 year old woman who i am told is still collecting! there are many very special objects there, including some remarkable photos that i believe were by this man edward s. curtis. take a look and you might get an idea of the impact these images had on me.

after i passed through klamath again i saw this guy walking who i'd seen since way back up on the highway. i stopped to inquire about his situation. he was walking to eureka he said to get the pay that he way owed. i wondered why he didn't try to hitch a ride. he said he hadn't had luck so he just decided to walk... i told him it was powerful to me to see him out there walking along the highway. i gave him a piece of the smoked salmon.

a while later i stopped to talk to another, younger fellow i saw walking the other direction. he said he was walking from orick to crescent city to work. i've never heard of people doing this... walking 50 miles to work or walking even farther to get ones pay! sure is a nice walk through the redwoods though. this second guy said he'd been munching on the thimble berries and i was like, "YEAH!"

traveling through Prairie Creek Redwoods i was thinking of what wealth is in this ecosystem. you can feel it when in the embrace of the woods. moisture is attracted and held by the trees, and an abundance of soil is built up to support the plants and animals in the understory. most of these forests have been destroyed. what an honor to be in this place.

i'd contacted a man in to stay with in orick through and made it there shortly before dark. he has two goats, a bunch of chickens that roam the yard, and a couple of verdant vegetable plots. those plots were fenced from the chickens. he also grows his own weed legally. the dinner i made myself included nettle i'd found just before orick. i was surprised to find young plants not yet going to seed. i then enjoyed his hot very hot tub. i am so blessed!

i'd ridden a little over sixty miles with the back-tracking. it felt like an easy day though since i had many breaks and the trees and fog had sheltered me from the sun.