Waking up this morning, I feel like I’m still in a dream. I close my eyes, opening them to enjoy the view above me. Painted like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, the gentle curve of the ceiling surrounds me like the embrace of strong arms. I rise easily from my comfortable bed to the warm stone floor. Stretching, I look out my light sensitive, programmable windows. It’s late Spring, and the trees outside are green and in full blossom.
Walking along the curved corridor is like visiting an art museum of my own making; the bottles and tiles and drift wood embedded in the walls remind me that I built this house with my own hands and those of my friends. The bathroom is a study in sunlight, as it pours in through glass block and Solatube. I’ve lined my shower with river rock and slate; the shower head one of those enormous antique ones. I don’t worry about wasting water. The greywater recycling system efficiently returns the water in potable form, heated by the sun. The soap and shampoo I use are homemade; a neighbor’s kid’s project.
The house has only been finished for a few months, about as long as it took to build. Memories of all the people involved, and how it all came about, are still crystal clear in my heart and in my mind. The laughter and conversations of hundreds still echo in the walls.
The place was a madhouse, but man, did we get a lot done every day. You feel like you’ve won the lottery, when given the opportunity to work your ass off, because you were one of the lucky ones among the thousands who applied to be part of the first farm.
The original plan called for people to work in the professions they were trained for, or had an interest in; building, farming, livestock, communications, marketing, planning, energy production. Funny thing though, near the end, people were swapping jobs and learning each other’s skills. Most of my clothes, the towel I’m drying myself with, and the food I’ll have for breakfast, all come from the farm.
After breakfast, and a little sweet “slap and tickle” with my honey, who I met at one of the community events we’ve had from the start of the project, I’ll work with the solar panel crew. Truth be told, we spend a couple hours checking the panels, motors, and gauges, maybe wiping off the panels, and then a few hours gardening below them.
The Farm is busy with stores, production, and classes offering a chance to learn something new about music, art, or community; pretty much anything anyone wants to learn or teach. Still, it seems like I have lots of time to do what I love, write.
So how did this wonderful place come about?
A guy with a dream, and a little bit of courage, sat down with some friends, and came up with a business plan and financials proving the dream was possible. It was polished, and polished again, and shown to dozens of potential partners. There were meetings, and planning, and permits, and the dream finally became reality.
It was a dream, but now I have work for life, building communities like this one, around the world.