Sunday, July 29, 2012

montreal again

the song circle and potluck which i proposed was hosted at essentiellement sol on the night i returned from the meditation course. it was so perfect. there was a little worry in my mind about whether people would come. the folks who i invited at the meditation center did not make it, but there were several people who heard about it through the announcement sent out by the hosts. we filled the small room nicely and created most positive, healing vibrations. the time got away from us and we did not end up eating until about 9pm. the food was wonderful, we had some conversation, and some continued to sing.

one of the female servers who i greatly enjoyed working with at the vipassana center gave me the spare key to her apartment in the old part of montreal. another kind server, david, dropped me off there as it was near to his destination. it was a beautiful space with thick, stone walls and big, wood beams exposed above. this is where i could be in solitude over these couple days in montreal. what a gift.

in montreal i carried the hoop with me wherever i rode and practiced doing tricks, kind of dancing with it. there is some desire to become a spectacle that might inspire a smile and perhaps help people snap out of a humdrum or negative mind state. the joy wants to be shared. so, as >HOOP RIDER< i wield this hula hoop as my tool of inspiration. in montreal there are many community gardens. i did not visit any of them, but i did see a couple from the road. through online exploration i found this outdated but interesting article. if you do some searching you can find more information on these positive growing spaces.

i discovered another person on a wonderful journey of awakening to love! she is calling the trip happiness around the world. maybe you would like to check it out. some cool pictures!

life is full. i am slow at writing these posts...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

vipassana course in montebello

i had a good experience serving another successful vipassana course.

some details to fill in:

challenge of 'surrendering'

this vipassana center, like other ones i have been to, was composting all of their kitchen scraps. one day i had the opportunity to join in taking the load of several medium trash cans over to the farm site. the farm also belongs to the vipassana center, and some of the permanent employees live there. the land is enough i think to produce most of the vegetables for the meals the vipassana center serves at it's courses. there is a need for some coordination and more volunteers to get it started. there are just not enough hands there now.
the compost pile when i came to it was an anaerobic mat with a crusty top. i gave it a makeover,

the woodchuck

karma and chaos


Tuesday, July 17, 2012


monday i joined elise to two yoga classes she teaches. they were very calm, restorative hatha practices, which was quite nice for where i was at. still challenging enough.

the second class was held at a wonderful little place called essentiellement sol. it is a natural food store and deli with a healing arts center above. brilliant! i was intoduced to patrick, who i will call the 'shopkeeper', i decided to hang out there after the yoga class, and stayed to wait out a heavy downpour. i bought a cup of mate. patrick bought a friendship bracelt! we chatted a bit. he had good music playing and would sing along much of the time. he asked if i had ever received this healing light treatment before and asked if i would let him perform it on me. it is like reiki, and focusses on the pineal gland. shortly after receiving this treatment i thought to ask patrick if we could have a song circle in the space upstairs. he responded in the positive and we decided it would take place upon my return on the 28th.

i found these folks somehow... who do song circles somewhere in the U.S. wonder if i will have a chance to join them on my way.

we passed by one sweet looking community garden while riding to yoga class, and i have found information online about many other gardens, but i was not able to visit any of them this day.

elise had the idea to make pizza and bought some organic spelt flour so i would eat it too. she had to be out in the evening, so she asked for my help preparing it. at first i was kind of a jerk and started to shoot down her idea, before i realized what a kind gesture she was making. in the end the pizza came out amazingly (reminded me of how my mom used to make it) and i also made some other food to balance out the meal to my liking. we shared it with another awesome couchsurfer from france who was there for the night.
after dinner elise and i did a little salsa dancing and i played a little mbira as promised.

Monday, July 16, 2012

island pond to montreal

after another wonderful experience with the twelve tribes commonwealth community i was off hitch-biking again, headed for montreal. i rode a little ways out of island pond to a place i though ti was likely to catch a ride. there were not many cars out on this road on this late sunday morning, so my usual worries were hightened. but a car came by soon enough and it was this guy bruce who is a friend of the twelve tribes! his house, which he bought from them, was pointed out to me the previous evening. "a nice guy lives there now." is what i was told. i'm glad i got to get first hand experience of this.

after the ride from bruce i spent a couple of rather uncomfortable hours on an ugly stretch of road near to highway 91, trying to catch someone going up into canada there. i began going up to people with canada plates at the gas station and asking them. many people only spoke french. one guy told me that he would love to help me but had been caught in a mess once when a hitch-hiker had stuffed some drugs under the seat... and i got the idea i might have a hard time finding a ride across the border.
so i proceeded through newport and then hitched a ride up to the border. i found a great deal on celtic sea salt at the little natural food store in newport!

2nd ride: a nice young family man who had a bike rack on the back of the car. he moved asside his fishing poles to make room for my bags in the back seat. we related over the vision of positive change for humanity.

right as i was passing through the border there was a huge downpour, so i lingered for a while under the shelter there. a guy with a motorcycle was also lingering to wait out the worst of the rain. he said if i had trouble finding a ride i could come find him in the nearby town of Brome and stay the night at his place. gave me his phone number. he told me he had riden the route vert up to quebec city and back on his horse once. sounds nice.

3rd ride: Jean-Philippe Brouillette and Laurainne Grandmaison

the rain let up and i soon caught a ride with some nice folks headed towards, but not all the way, to montreal. we drove through some SUPER-heavy rain! this young couple said they are working all the time now, saving money to buy a place. they were on the way back from a couple days of vacation, off hiking i think. jean was turning 29 the following day! they dropped me off near the big highway that leads to montreal, and i took shelter at a gas station there while another downpour came and went. i enjoyed watching and listening to the people at the gas station. mostly french. the guy working the pumps was a very pleasant character and we had a positive exchange.

4th ride: Paul Rozon
this pleasant man was a jehova's whitness, so maybe you can imagine we had a lot to talk about. he appreciated the mission that i am on, spreading the hope for positive change in humanity through choosing love. it is basically what he is all about too. he was able to help me understand the jehova's whitness folks from a new perspective.

5th ride: martin

i considered just riding the rest of the way into montreal, which was about ten miles perhaps, but then decided to give hitching a shot first. glad i did because i met this amazing guy, who was a huge confirmation of my vision for humanity.
he told me that about six years ago he had had a kind of shift, or awakening in his life. he had gone on a trip across canada to the west and then down the west coast of the U.S. he said that it felt like, "everything that happened was part of a plan." he shared his thoughts about how interconnected everything is and that, "nothing happens for nothing." you know... everything happens for a reason. like me happening to be there hitching a ride just when he was coming by.
"i think there are more and more people starting to think like that... it's good." he said. and i felt overjoyed to hear it. there lies my hope for humanity. he told me he beileves in unity!
he said, "every time i see people that are not too ... strange, i stop and pick them up."
as we crossed over the bridge into montreal he mused about when he passes this way before and after work, he sees the beauty of it and is grateful for all the blessings in his life.

i was dropped off near downtown and rode the rest of the way to the apartment of my couchsurfing host, elise. the sun was setting as i headed west, and i hoped to catch a good view, but i had to be satisfied with the colors on the clouds peeking above the buildings. i was feeling pretty elated, as i usually do arriving in a new city. i played with the hula hoop as i rode, showing off a little for people on the street. i can spin it around my right wrist and am working on some other simple tricks.

elise was full of positive energy to receive me with and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner on her front balcony.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

turner to island pond

for now i will just write some quotes from the cool people who i hitched rides with:

1st ride: roy gallant

told me about his great grandmother, who farmed into her 80's in East Madison, Maine. the old farm had no electricity. she sold butter and wood from the property to earn some extra money. the whole family would come together to bring in the hay every year. salt pork with beans and buscuits was the saturday supper.

he says:

"without the small farmer we're sunk."

"i hope the farmers do make a comeback."

"if people would just stop for a minute and look at what's going on around them, it wouldn't be that hard to see what the problem is."

he feels that volunteer government might solve the problem of corruption. i found mr. gallant to be a very sensible man with genuine concern for the state of affairs in our country.

2nd ride:
this young man was on his way to help his folks move some things with his pickup truck. he told me he had just recently come to a decision to turn his life around and go for his dream of becoming a pilot. he is dieting and trimming down a bit. his positive spirit was shining through.

3rd ride: steve chatelle

this kind man was from rhode island. in his distinctive accent he said:

"you've got a lot of nerve to be on this trip you're on."

"i enjoy the simpler things in life. that's why i have this old car."

"there ain't a lot to mechanics. you just have to pay attention and take your time." kind of a good rule for life in general i think. i know sometimes we have to move fast though.

he told me a story about how he had changed a little girl,s life by buying her a computer. this man came through a lot of hardship as a child, but his loving spirit has been resilient and he has been able to help others. he had told me other great stories about his life that i don't have time or the memory to do justice here.

4th ride:
a kind woman who lived up on a wooded hill. she had a spunky personality that i appreciated.

5th ride: an old couple from vermont who had come over to the island pond area to catch some car races that it turned out were not happening that day. so they were just 'wandering' when they spotted me. they made room in their mini van and kindly drove me all the way to the house of the twelve tribes in island pond, which we had just a little difficulty finding. the man driving encouraged asking people we came across for direction. after three inquiries we found the right house. i got there just as they were starting the evening gathering! just as i had hoped!

this old couple had heard about the twelve tribes being kind of 'cultish' or something. i told them they could attend one of the dinners on fridays, which are open to everyone, to get a first-hand experience. it is sad to me that people let the oppinions of others determine their view of something they have no idea about from experience. it can separate good people from each other.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

north branch to turner, maine

i tried to hitch to turner, where i was invited by someone on, in the evening on thursday. the folks living in the house on the corner where i was hitching came out to see if i needed any help. when they understood my situation they said i could sleep in the trailer in the back yard if i didn't get a ride. after i had sat there trying to thumb a ride for about forty minutes a motorcyclist stopped to talk to me and confirmed my suspicion, that hitching south to belfast first would be quicker, as fewer vehicles traveled this smaller highway west out of monroe.
i decided to go back to north branch farm for another night and asked paul, the man of this house, if they would like to do breakfast in the morning. bacon and eggs...? he said sure, and that he had to bring one of his dogs to the vet in the morning, so i could get a ride in to belfast after breakfast!

it was a wonderful dinner and evening with the whole north branch family, including relatives who live in the area. the meal was potluck style and one family brought fixings for spring rolls! it was a wonderful way to enjoy the roasted chicken and fresh vegetables. an especially wonderful ingredient was the wild leek, a crisp and mellow, and sweet allium.
two of the guests for dinner were also traveling around the u.s. kind of improvisationally like i am. their names were pete and lauren, and i hope to hear more about their story and run into them again father along, as they are also headed west at this point.
before bed i noticed the attractive poster of 2012 events at newforest institute and thought, 'what i pity i didn't know of this before!'. i would have liked to visit and help out there. when i looked on their website i noticed that their regular workparty day was friday. so now i was feeling like maybe i should not be in such a rush to get to turner and on to vermont, but should go see this place while i have the chance. so i slept on it.

in the morning i followed through with going to have breakfast with paul, but when i knocked on his door there was no answer. i waited there for about 45 minutes and then decided it was a sign that i was supposed to go to newforest. so i bicycled this wooded country road over to brooks. when i got there the first guy i met was also a visitor. he said it was a 'surprise day off' for everyone, but there were a couple people inside i could talk to before they left. i met lisa, one of the staff, who said there are big changes happening in the organization and a lot of potential for the 300acre property. it is primarily a permaculture demonstration site and training center.
the guy i met and his friend were just about to take off south, going through belfast, to meet up with another ride going to a permaculture conference in mass. so i somehow managed to squeeze in the back seat of their smallisch 4-door with all my bags and bicycle and got a ride to the highway i would take west. the first thing i asked in the car was, 'so... what do you guys think of the potential for human evolution in this time?' the response was giggles. i proceeded to tell them about the hoop tour and some of what i am excited about. when i told them i had just confirmed i would be visiting joseph jenkins, author of the humanure handbook, they told me they had just slapped together a bucket toilet of his design for lisa, as she needed one this weekend!

i got three more rides and did a little bicycling to arrive in auburn at axis natural food store, where my host sherwin works. he tok a break and gave me a ride up to his place in turner after i took a look around and purchased a few things for dinner.
i was invited to 'noise night', where sherwin was going in another town, but decided to have a relaxing evening and get to bed earlier. before making dinner i went for a dip in the river and paid a visit to nezinscot farm. this brilliant place of positive change is a mile and a half from the old farm house in turner where i was staying. i bought more amazing food, including goat yogurt and lamb kidney produced on the farm. one guy doing some painting there told me when i inquired that the owner, gloria, had asked him one day, 'are you as busy as you want to be?' and had proposed he come do some painting for her. he seemed really happy to be there.
the old issue of acres magazine that i picked up off the top of the stack had the 'focus' of compost. i read some of an old article by a man named newman turner in which he describes the process of composting at goosegreen farm back in the 40s-50s. i was allowed to take the magazine with me, and i finished the article back at the house. very enlightening!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

permaculture all about

the folks i stayed with in tallahasse, florida, who gave me the initial suggestion to visit tinder hearth bakery, are doing permaculture work as edible landscapes. i like what is said on their site under 'mission'. their presence and activity is a confirmation of the shift i believe is happening around the world.

permaculture is a very important component in this shift. many of the places i visit are applying permaculture design in their communities. the book that was the seed inspiration for this trip, 'growing up in occupied america', refers to the food ways of an indigenous people as 'their permaculture'. permaculture, i recently became aware, was informed in it's inception by observations of the ways of indigenous peoples throughout the world.
in searching for information on this topic i found this informative article. not exactly what i was looking for, but worth a look.

another place i just found out about is near to where i stayed at North Branch Farm. it is called newforest institute. i would not have known about it if i had not taken a moment to admire the poster on the door of the room i stayed in while at the farm. this radical place is just down the road!

in this extensive interview with Possibility Alliance founder Ethan Hughes, he mentions how they offer the first by-donation permaculture certification in the world.

deer isle to north branch farm

i spent the late morning at deer isle hostel helping a little bit around the place. i sawed off more spruce branches, a vigorous upper body workout, and then worked with dennis on cleaning and oiling some tools. he has done a great job maintaining his tools through many years of hard use. this was a great lesson for me, to see the results of this kind of care. i was grateful he had chosen a task we could work on together while chatting. i told him about some of the places i had been to and places i was excited about ahead of me. we shared our thoughts on the topic of 'the value of old ways'. dennis believes in using the best tools and techniques, old or new.

i caught one shorter ride from the town on deer isle and then a longer ride with a very nice lobsterman on his way up near belfast. i'd been waiting for quite a while by this store south of blue hill, and when he pulled in to the store parking lot i got the impulse to go up and ask him. i've learned to follow these impulses, as making a connection with someone face to face can help something happen. sometimes we have to make an effort to bridge that gap. i think a lot of people would help another person out, but might not feel comfortable making the first move.

after visiting belfast once more to use the computer at the library and pick up some food at the coop i got back out on the road. i hitched up 114, hoping i could get to north branch farm in time to bless dinner. one of the rides i got was with another lobsterman. the second short ride was with a nice old man, nicknamed kit, who i felt very encouraged by.

i missed the blessing, but was received and given some food as dinner was in progress. after dinner i helped a little with cleaning the kitchen, enjoyed their deluxe outdoor shower, and played a game of cribbage with a couple folks. i was given a bed on which i spread a layer of their fluffy sheep skins to make it super comfy.

kerstin, one of the apprentices here, completed the localmotive bike tour in astoria, oregon just after i passed near there on my way down to green string farm. after taking it kind of easy on account of a lingering headache in the morning i joined her and two other apprentices in the farm work. we removed what was surely more than a ton of manure and urine soaked bedding from one of the animal pens in the barn. the smell was intense, and we sweated buckets as the sheep did their best to stay out of the way of the sharp-pointed forks. the material was added to the huge pile of composting manure, where it will become beautiful compost and be returned to the soil some day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

tinder hearth to deer isle hostel

i stayed up until about 1am hanging out and slowly cleaning the kitchen at tinder hearth. then i managed to begin my day around 7am as activity began around the place in preparation for market and delivery day. bread bread BEAUTIFUL BREAD! i spent a lot of time relaxing, but also washed bread pans and made a dish of sauteed vegetables for lunch. the twins, one of them the founder of tinder hearth, returned in the late morning from a trip to bolad's kitchen, in new mexico. this is the connection between my host in tallahassee and them. they are students of this wonderful man martin pretchtel.
i read one of martin's books, called 'long life honey in the heart', when i was a youth, and was deeply affected by it. there is a story in that book about what i now refer to as the economy of generosity. the moral is that it holds us together in a beautiful way to be in one another's debt.

though i was enamored with tinder hearth, i departed that afternoon to make my way down to deer isle hostel. it was only about twenty miles between these two magical places, and i decided to just ride the distance. there were some steep hills, and sometimes i wished i had stopped and caught one of the many pickups that passed me, but it felt really good to work my body hard. i'd thought i might be late for dinner, but i made it in time.
i'd heard about deer isle hostel only a few days before, from a guy named andrew who i met at carpenter's boat shop. he was one of the founders of the place, and also at one time managed the hostel in the forest. one of the other founders, dennis, also worked with the hostel in the forest and has carried some of the same positive energy to deer isle. one tradition that i was happy to find is the same at both places is that they share dinner every evening and begin it with a circle of gratitude!
dinner the night i was there was a special harvest of clams! i brought bread, peas, and kale from tinder hearth, and collaborated on a miso soup. five of us shared a wonderful, peaceful meal.
dennis had told me i could do some sawing of branches, so i got out there after dinner to use the last light. the mosquitoes were a nuisance, but i covered up and kept sawing. i like this kind of activity. i used to love to saw up branch wood for our cook stove at wild's edge, where i lived on orcas island a couple years ago.

i'm so glad i was guided to this radical temple of positive change! they have an abundant garden, compost toilet, minimal solar power, handpumped water, and no refrigeration! this is the first place without a fridge i have visited on this trip. i lived without at wild's edge for almost two years. i heard recently that there is now a propane fridge at wild's edge because of increased goat milk production. i believe there is a need for people to show that this way of living is not only possible but quite enjoyable. a hostel is a wonderful place to share that with others!

Monday, July 9, 2012

rockport to tinder hearth bakery

sunday night i decided at the last minute to join dana, who i had just met at the boat shop, up to rockport, where i could stay at her apartment for the night. when i left carpenter's boat shop i couldn't find the tent i had been traveling with. hope someone else can make use of it!
dana had a hula hoop leaning against the side of her house. one important reason we were brought together was so that i could refresh her memory of how to play some mbira songs she had learned years ago. you should have seen her reaction when i pulled out the mbira! this was a special gift for me to be able to offer.
i made a nice breakfast incorporating bacon, very tasty new potatoes, veggies and greens, sprouts, the last of the sheep yogurt, and one pastured egg each. we collected some of the dried material from a recent mowing of the roadside near her place and used it to mulch around the tomato, squash, and ground cherries she planted. i can tell she is passionate about growing food. i hope she will find a fully encouraging environment where she can express it.

i left after lunch from rockport, rode up to highway 1 on the other side of camden, and caught a short ride up to lincolnville. there i waited quite a while, and was getting a little antsy when i was picked up by a guy who recognized me from the contra dance in belfast! he was on his way back to bar harbor after making some deliveries for his company, harbor bars. as we drove off, my bicycle and most of my baggage in the freezer mounted on back of the pickup, he handed me one of these decadent chocolate/icecream sandwiches. i decided to go for it. not something i really need, but very good indeed. keith was very kind to take the longer way home and drive me all the way to tinder hearth bakery! when we arrived he gave my hosts a small box of his product to share around! i had gone in to see if there was any bread i could give him, but we had arrived just before their baking night, so they were all out. in the back yard, just before being greeted by bill, one of the bakers, i noticed two hula hoops laying in the grass...

the situation in the kitchen provided me a good opportunity to help out. i slowly ate dinner, scraping out the last of a few dishes, as i began to clean up the big mess left after a good meal. i was in heaven! i got to meet micah again, who i had spoken with briefly at the belfast contra dance. he harvests seaweed in the area and lives a little south of the bakery, towards deer isle. throughout the night i had a few good interactions with bill, the young man who was in charge of baking 200 loaves of bread this night. it was a pleasure to watch him work, and to relate over permaculture and urban design. he has the same vision of the transformation of cities into smaller, more self-sufficient populations in close proximity.

tinder hearth is a place i was told about by some folks i stayed with in tallahassee. i didn't think i would take the time to visit them as i was running short on time, but a turn of events led me there. north branch farm was not ready to receive me until the 11th, when they were having their organic certification inspection. anna, of north branch, suggested tinder hearth, which is owned by a friend she used to go to school with. just amazes me how this worked out!

tinder hearth has a bucket toilet, in which i gladly made a deposit. i had the honor of taking out the food scraps from the kitchen, which i deposited in their nearly full, and quite healthy (though a little dry) compost pile.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

carpenter's boat shop

i stayed at the carpenter's boat shop for three nights. my friend molly, in guilford, CT had brought my attention to their website, and i had contacted them shortly after.

the time fate brought me there happened to be one of the most important events of this community's history, the retirement ceremony for bobby ives, who had been the director since the place began in 1979. there were many alumni who had been apprentices in the past, and also many friends and family. everyone wanted to be helpful, so i had a hard time finding a job to do most of the time.

i didn't even get to take out the buckets of humanure from their new bathroom in the shop. i think someone was emptying them each time one filled up, and i had set one asside, thinking i would take two at a time. i just didn't have the timing right. anyway, people seem to be using the bucket toilet, even though many of the guests were also using the two port-o-potties that were graciously donated for the event. it was not my place to say anything, so i just tried to let it go. i do think this simple, ecologically, economically, and spiritually sound way of dealing with our poop needs to be encouraged more, especially at places like the carpenter's boat shop, who's aim is 'to live in creative simplicity'.

kim, the new director, gave me one of the warmest welcomes... taking a little time to show me the facilities and listen to my story. she told me it was really special to have me there because i represent all those spontaneous travelers who have come through the boat shop in need of the hospitality it offers. i felt blessed to have been guided to this place, to the embrace of these warmhearted people.

there is a small farm at carpenter's boat shop which they call 'even keel farm'. it is just beginning to increase the production of vegetable crops through the limited use of machines. food scraps are being composted along with weeds from the garden. their pallet bin system looked good, except that there could be more cover material. almost always good to add more cover material.

during the ceremony we sang and prayed together. there were also moving speeches delivered by several people. one man said of the boat shop, "there lives here the seed of the dream we all have for the universe." that felt very true to me. there was a strong sense of brotherhood and loving kindness between everyone there.

one of the visitors, a member of the broader community of friends who lives in the area, was checking out the compost bins when i went down to pour my pee container there. this is a ritual i perform when it seems like it won't disturb anyone. this man composts his humanure at home too! it was cool to meet another person in this area who is part of this movement, and i encouraged him to keep it up and spread the awareness of it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

cumberland to carpenter´s boat shop

i'd been in contact with a guy named joe who i met at the contra dance in princeton. he and some friends from PA decided to take a little road trip up to belfast, then falmouth, ME, for two nights of contra dancing. the timing was perfect, so they swooped me up on their way. my hosts of cumberland invited this carload of merry-makers to come back for a party they were having the next day, before the contra dance in falmouth. connection bonus!

i left my shoes at the house in cumberland, so one of the guys let me borrow his for the evening of the contra dance. he was using an old pair of shoes as his dancing shoes, but had some new hiking shoes too. i proposed we trade shoes. he could pick up my shoes, which were in similarly worn condition, when he returned for the party in cumberland. he agreed, so i had a new old pair of shoes to travel in!

the band who played this contra dance was a very skilled two-piece called 'notorious'. it was a really fun dance also because there were lots of people of all ages. i enjoyed dancing with a couple of older women, and many of the beautiful young women. no men this time. another experience of truly joyful community!

at my request the caller kindly announced my need for a place to stay the night. in my announcement i put 'farm towards pemaquid a plus'. the first person who approached me in response asked where i was going in pemaquid. when i told him the boat shop he said he works there! so i rode with he and the girls from there who also came up for the dance. they were supposed to have a full car, but one person had not ended up joining them...

Friday, July 6, 2012


when i went to help with silk screening my first day in portland i found a flyer with a schedule of events at a healing arts center called bhakti in motion. i was attracted to an event scheduled for july fifth called 're-wilding workshop', which would be followed by a 'community feast'. that sounded right up my alley. it was a good enough reason to stick around portland for another day. as i explored portland i noticed there were many more events on the horizon that could keep me even longer. i had to resist the temptation.

when i went to the yoga center to find out more details about the event(i had not noticed or thought to call the phone number on the card) i met kara, who was about to begin a massage on a client. she informed me that the event i was interested in had been postponed. i then told her i was looking for a place to stay the night and asked if she knew anyone who participates in "well, i do." she said. and we decided to check in later after she had talked to her housemates.

i went for a ride out to South Portland, where i found a little, unkempt wilderness area on the water to eat lunch and then rode a little way on the recreational trail that heads out towards the lighthouses. one woman i talked to was working in her little garden cut out of the grass across the trail from her house. she said they had tried to compost a pile of leaves, but it had not decomposed much, perhaps due to not having enough grass in it. as i rode on i saw a gardener with a bunch of grass clippings in the back of his truck, and i thought, "maybe he would like to donate them to this woman for her compost pile!" but it turned out he takes the clippings to a recycling center in his home town of Cape Elizabeth, where they are composted by the good folks of 'Jordan's' farm and sold back to the gardeners who paid them to compost it! cool to hear about how this is happening. this nice gardener fellow told me some of the landscaping businesses are starting to 'do it themselves'. awesome.

i think i left the hula hoop, which i had been carrying since guilford, at a very stylish cafe in south portland called verbena. i stopped there on the way back to get water and see what it felt like inside. the energy of the place was really pleasant and i received great service. when i realized the hoop was lost was when i was explaining about my trip to a cycling woman who i met on the way to cumberland. i was bummed to have lost the hoop, but thought there must be some reason...

the first thing i noticed at the house when i arrived was a small pile of hula hoops near the front door. my hosts were extremely warm to me. i slept under 'the pyramid' and two of the housemates joined with me in meditation there in the morning. they use this simple wooden shape for energetic enhancement. i spent some of the next day playing and doing crafts with the kids. this was a very nourishing kind of family experience for me.
i asked if they would be willing to part with any of their hoops and the first one i was the one i would take. it was black with blue and white stripes, matching my general color scheme. guess i lost that other one so i could graduate to this one, which i can actually use! the other one was too light and small.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

east coast portland

i stayed two nights in tom's wood shop, the barn. on the fourth i spent some of the day patching both my riding shorts and my wool pants. the work i did for tom was to clear weeds that were encroaching on some shrubs and trees in front of the barn. this is an area he says does not get much attention, and so he needed to apply some compost and mulch to help the ground retain moisture.

right after leaving my hosts on 'the hill', i found my way to this awesome little store they had mentioned called rosemont market and bakery. i splurged on a $7 pint (mason jar!) of sheep yogurt from a dairy called fuzzy udder creamery, just recently begun in unity, maine. i consider this kind of purchase to be a devotional practice which will help bring about the world i envision.

boston to portland

i stayed with the twelve tribes community in boston. they have a beautiful house down in dorchester that had just been scraped and pressure washed for repainting when i arrived. i didn't get involved with any of that work, as they had to let it dry for a couple days. i did work a few hours on monday on a multi-million dollar, five-story house near beacon hill. it used to be separated into apartments, but is now one grand house with a patio on top! my little job was to put recessed handles into three sets of sliding french doors. it was the perfect job for me! i was some lessons again about basic carpentry, like to check measurements, level, and plumb twice. also set tools aside while checking the placement of the hardware, so as not to accidentally mark surfaces. anyway it was satisfying and educational, and i was glad to pitch in a little towards the financial security of my hosts. they have been so generous with me! when i departed i was provided with a lunch.

on my way to the train station i stopped by the boston site of the food project, where i sought to donate some compostables and maybe pitch in for a few minutes. i was told to toss the food scraps on their large, dilapidated bin, which looked like it had some finished compost at the bottom and several recent, large deposits of fruit and veggie scraps. i was told by one of the young folks working there that a nearby restaurant donates scraps. that's great, and i am hoping the twelve tribes house can do the same! currently they are putting all their food scraps (a lot!) into the trash and garbage disposal. i will do what i can to facilitate this beneficial connection. since the recent nitrogenous deposits were not covered with brown cover material i asked if i could add some of the dry stalks of plants in the adjacent 'weed pile', which seemed to have an excess of that useful material. "as long as there are not too many weed seeds in it." was the answer. so i went for it, and it felt really good to help that pile out.

i took the train to boston since amtrak has been smart enough to offer bicycle accomodation between boston and portland. on the train i worked on a hoop bracelet and ate lunch.

in portland i got a little lost right away, which helped me to see a little more of the city as i entered it. in a main square, by the library, i met a nice metal worker/cyclist and then decided to put some superhero bike ride fliers on bikes and hand some out. one guy who i talked to said he was going to screen print a bunch of t-shirts, and i offered to help.

when i crossed the street to the library i met some gals who are part of this climate summer project. that they were walking bikes and wearing matching shirts attracted my attention. their video coordinator shot a short video of me.

after my time at the library i met the cabinet maker fellow who would be my host the next two nights. after hearing a bit about my story he said he had a barn i could sleep in. it is an old barn he refurbished into his wood shop. he made his style of savory oats with eggs over easy one morning for us and his family shared a wonderful dinner with me on the fourth of july. i helped out with some yard work and swept the floor in the shop. i was very blessed to receive the hospitality of these kind folks.

the evening i arrived i attended the weekly tuesday performance of the maine marimba ensemble. it was great to reconnect with this music, which i grew up playing with my family. they invited me to play the shakers (hosho) on a few songs! i also danced much of the time.

on the way to that performance was passing another cyclist with a squeaky chain. i asked if he knew what the problem was, which he sort of did, and i told him i had some chain lube with me and that we could do it there and then! he accepted the offer and so i did the service for him while we chatted. this was a satisfying superhero service that i want to do more of. he was so grateful, and i could imagine how nice the bicycle must have felt after riding that dry, rusty chain for so long.

whirling rainbow of peace

from the website of little grandmother:

"We are the Tribe of Many Colors--the Rainbows, prophesied to come during the great time of change when the world would transform both physically and spiritually, a time that will bring great enlightenment.

These Two-legged will be called the Rainbow Tribe, for they are the product of thousands of years of melding among the five original races. These Children of Earth have been called together to open their hearts and to move beyond the barriers of disconnection. The medicine they carry is the Whirling Rainbow of Peace, which will mark the union of the five races as ONE."

at the beginning of this trip i heard about this woman during a lecture a man gave about creating sites of spiritual amplification in the NW Washington State. he had met her and participated in some of the ceremonies in which large stones in special sites were 'recharged'. his lecture was followed by workshops/workparties in which sites were identified and stones were placed on orcas island.

the 'rainbow tornado' is also mentioned by the Superhero Training Academy in this post.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

brookfield farm to boston

i spent a second night saturday with todd and his family. in the morning i made more sauteed vegetables. when todd and his son left for church i went down to the apprentice house to catch the morning activity, as i had missed them when i went by the previous night at 10:15. i got to see will, a very fine young fellow who was a grad at green string when i was an intern. he was visiting zoe, one of the apprentices of brookfield farm. they enjoyed a fine farmer's breakfast while i had black tea to get my engine running.

i rode just a little ways out of amherst and decided to try hitching at the first opportunity. after making a sign and standing there for a little while i decided to try sitting in the shade on the curb with the sign leaned up against the bicycle. a very nice girl on her way to visit a friend near boston stopped in her little four-door. she already had the back seats down with one bicycle loaded, and was not sure i would fit, but thought we could give it a try. i knew immediately that it would not be a problem. after we both used the bathroom at the dunkin donuts across the street, we were off!

i took the train from where i was dropped off, in the city of lowell.

race brook to amherst

i worked at the incredible brookfield farm for four hours on saturday. this place is to me the closest east coast equivalent to green string, where i was in intern in the fall. here the apprentices, four who i met, share an old farm house next to the main farm property. after my morning shift i cooked lunch in their kitchen, inspired by all the fresh produce!

i brought some of the summer squash back for my hosts. out of my joy came this sunburst of squash, which is reminiscent of the work of andy goldsworthy.