Sunday, May 29, 2011
The Gemini party was a great time. It was so much fun to get all dressed up with everyone. A lot of the costumes were VERY humorous. There was a cop, several crossdressers (Lyndon went as his alter-ego, “Splenda.” In his words, “She’s a little bitter and a little sweet.”), an emo couple, a dominatrix… Steven dressed up in tie-dyed long underwear and went as “Steven and the Technicolor Dreamsuit.” Joe went as his ego’s brother, Bo, from Arkansas, who wears nothing but a red bathrobe and works at Hollywood video. Kane went as a southern-style redneck, complete with a “the South will rise again” confederate flag and a 12-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. They had me absolutely rolling in laughter all evening!
“Slept in” this morning, until 8:30, and I was still up before most people. (Ah, the revelry.)
Went on a tour of Earthaven with Patricia, Cate and Joshua, and some of Patricia’s personal friends at 10am. It was fun and interesting. I’m starting to get my bearings with respect to knowing where I am and where I’m going.
Apparently I’ve found my new totem – the frog. Not only have I been reveling in their lovely sounds outside my window, but today makes three sightings in two days. I actually saw this teeny tiny frog in the grass and almost stepped on him, so I stopped to pick him up and look at him. Cate got a couple of good pictures of it, and I let it go. Not fifteen minutes later, I pointed out another, larger frog that had hopped into a woodpile.
“I think you found your totem,” Patricia said to me.
“Well,” I replied, “I have always liked the word ‘polliwog.’ Isn’t it a great word?”
“Yeah,” a friend of hers said, “and it goes really well with your name – Molly Polliwog.”
“I’m a Mollywog!”
After a moment of reflection, I realized and expressed that it fits perfectly. “I’m not a tadpole anymore,” I said, “but I’m definitely not a frog yet either. I am a Mollywog.” A creature beautiful and awesome in its own right, but growing, developing – in transition to a different, more mature state.
Then later, when I was talking to Cate, she told me that the frog I picked up was a peeper frog. Cousin to the poison dart frog, the peeper frog is an inhabitant of the temperate rainforest. As tiny as he was, the peeper frog was full-grown, and apparently he makes a huge noise for his tiny size. Most interestingly, it is extremely rare to even see one, much less be able to catch and hold one. “I was shocked that it stayed sitting on your hand,” Cate told me. “I thought I would have to take a picture really quickly, but I was actually able to stop and get a great shot… My sister is 27 and she has been trying unsuccessfully to catch a peeper frog her entire life. You don’t just stumble across them… I was like ‘Who are you.?” Whoa, intense. I am a Mollywog.
Anyway, this afternoon I went to work for Eli, a new mom, for LEAPs (the local currency earned through community service). Her baby, Oakley, is a very cute two-month-old blue-eyed baby boy. He smiled at me. Twice. <3 Anyway, I cleaned out her refrigerator (it needed it pretty badly!), did a TON of dishes, vacuumed the entire apartment, and scrubbed out her tub. Nothing I haven’t done before.
More interestingly, I got to talk to Eli and her partner (whose name I’ve forgotten… but in general I am actually doing really well learning names). They presented an entirely different point of view on a lot of things. It turns out Eli and her partner had started out living at Medicine Wheel, and they (especially the partner) had a couple of sharp, and actually very valid, criticisms of Medicine Wheel. The house and the garden are very unfinished, and without more commitment from Patricia, Lyndon, and more permanent residents than summer work exchangers, both are in danger of remaining that way.
We also got into what I like to call “food persuasions,” because some people can be as dogmatic about their choice of diet as their choice of religion. In stark opposition to Medicine Wheel, which is a no-meat, no-dairy house, the whole of Village Terraces (where they live) is highly carnivorous. They are generally followers of Sally Fallon and her Nourishing Traditions, a book on nutrition (with recipes) that I really respect. Considering their close relationship with the semi-connected Imani Farms, that seems to work out well for them. They pointed out a few things that I hadn’t known, and I think I’m going to make a point of incorporating some good quality meat into my diet as a supplement.
On the other hand, while I don’t generally have a problem with their persuasion (other than that a heavily carnivorous diet does take up significantly more resources than a plant-based diet), I do have a problem with the fact that they push their food choices on others. I understand that they believe that optimal health can only be maintained by consuming animal products. I think it is okay to disagree with the vegetarians, and it’s fine to present arguments to try to persuade vegetarians to make different food choices in the interest of their health. However, many of the people in Village Terraces seem hostile to vegetarians, which to me crosses the line. Personally, I believe that different people have different nutritional requirements that can be satisfied in different ways depending on ethnic heritage, genetic expression, etc. (something I took away from my reading of Sally Fallon). However, I believe that as independent adults, we are all free to make informed decisions about their own diet choices and those choices should be respected. Some people in Village Terraces are just plain disrespectful. This is evidently not just my opinion because one woman who lives there, Selene, chooses to eat at Medicine Wheel because she did not feel like those with whom she was sharing the communal kitchen space were respecting her choices. To me, that is where things go south.
However, it was very interesting to get some different perspectives, and I am coming to a more balanced understanding of many aspects of Earthaven. Ever since I arrive here, everyone has assured me that not everything is perfect but that everyone is budging along pretty well. Apparently, the situation was very problematic in 2008 and 2009, but things have improved significantly since then. Patricia also said that coming to Earthaven is like being in a new relationship; there is the honeymoon phase, a reality check, and then a break up or true love. I feel like I may be trying to rush myself through it, but I am simultaneously experiencing the delight of a honeymooner and the down-to-earth realism of the reality check.
Well, it’s about time for bed.