A lot's happened in the past couple of months. I started heading back to WV to rock climb as soon as I came home from Denmark, and somehow enough wacky things fell into place that I've now bought a farm right there in the New River Gorge with one of my best friends, Erin. She and I figured we were of like enough mind that we could collaborate on some projects, and so now we have thirty-three acres on the edge of Fayetteville, complete with a house, a barn, a John Deere tractor, a creek, and a pond stocked with fish. For the past several years I've known that I wanted to have pretty much all of the above, i.e. land, water, and a shelter to call my own (even a shared one). I ultimately want to build a little house all my own, off the grid and super energy-efficient, fueled by renewable resources, and shaped by my own brain.
Erin and I are both going to nutrition school starting in February so we can become health counselors, and now we're in a community that desperately needs exactly that. We're both excited about starting a community gardening project, and maybe even a co-op a little further down the line once we get the hang of growing food. I know I want to build all kinds of things so I know what I'm doing when I start in on an actual house, so once we finish some basic house projects (like ripping out carpet and laying down some reclaimed hardwood flooring) I can run off into the woods and start building my first treehouse. We have ideas for health clinics for pregnant and new moms, people with chronic disease, for working on better food in schools, hospitals, prisons, and the homes of everyone we know, and we are both most happy because we know that doing this kind of work will be amazing for our own health and happiness. Not enough people can say that about their work, but we want to be two of them.
Today in Mother Earth News magazine (the best mag maybe ever), I read a piece on the company Patagonia. Yvon Chouinard is its founder and a pretty mind-blowingly cool individual. When asked about his feelings on the future, he said, "Why should I be optimistic? You tell me. There's no reason to be optimistic. I think society is going to go into survival mode, because there's going to be a crash. The only thing people should be working on are products that people need, not products people want because they are bored. Things like food, alternative energy, and land for agriculture, those are the only safe investments. It doesn't depress me because I'm doing what I can. I'm active. The cure for depression is action. There's no difference between an optimist who says, 'Don't bother, it'll all be fine,' and a pessimist who says, 'Don't bother, it's all hopeless.'"
I just read an amazing quote that I have been finding more true every day:
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now." - Goethe
16 hours ago