Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Drumming in Tucson, Failing at Wwoofing, Finally in Eugene

I had a good time in Tucson and met a lot of nice people. The photo above is of Janice and Alice dancing at the drumming they took me to on my last night in town. Usually at drummings there are a few people who are actually good and the rest of us try to keep up. At this drumming there were over 40 people - black, white, Latino, etc and they were almost all good - it was powerful. I quit drumming several years ago because it hurt my hands. I was delighted to learn that whatever was wrong is now gone and I was able to drum away happily with no pain.

I've been learning lots of new things about myself and one of them is that I'm not good Wwoofing material. Wwoofers (World Wide Organic Farmers?) is a world wide organization that connects organic farms with volunteers who want to learn farming. Basically, it's just like slave labor with really bad living conditions. I imagine what keeps people going is all the friends they make. I lucked out in Tucson, because I made a deal with Bruce to do a work exchange with my creating a video for them. But still, in Tucson I was usually filthy (as was most everyone else) because the alternative was a cold shower in the solar shower. But, after my first week they gave me a trailer to use. It had electricity, running cold water, and an internet hookup. This kept me so satisfied (after camping in my truck for a week) that I didn't mind the lack of heat - I just adjusted by putting more layers of clothes on. The bathroom was about the length of a football field away from my trailer and on cold nights thoughts of a having access to an indoor toilet and shower next to my room....sigh.

When I left Tucson I stopped to visit Linn, who had found one of my blog sites and began e-mailing me. She lived in the middle of the Mojave Desert, half way to Fiddletown, California where my second work exchange awaited me, and was kind enough to invite me to spend a night on the way. She is planning on moving to New Mexico and grow Moringa Trees. Since that visit I've gotten all interested in growing Moringa Trees. It's an ayurvedic medicinal staple and is one of the most nutritious plants there is. It's bark, roots, leaves and fruit are edible and filled with good things. If you're interested, just google it and check it out.

It was at the goat ranch in California where I gave up. I made a deal up front to be an artist in residence and carve something for the man. What I didn't count on was the primitive living conditions and frigid cold. I was given the choice of several filthy trailers, non of which had electricity, running water, or internet access. To go to the bath room and/or eat was quarter of a mile away at the main house. If he spent more than $2 on all our food for the week I was there I'd be amazed. We ate mostly sustainable weeds with rice and oatmeal. Meanwhile I carved a nice life-sized naked lady for the guy and when I decided not to do an even larger carving of a big dead tree that would have been dangerous for me to carve on ladders, he said then I could just go work in the garden and clean his bathrooms, etc. I was cold and tired, the food that he cooked was always tasteless glop or I bought my own. As far as I could see I was getting absolutely nothing out of the deal. It was time to go. I don't remember leaving a sculpture undone before and I think she would have turned out pretty good, but why waste any more time beating a dead horse? I learned a lesson - no more slave labor camps with primitive living conditions. Below is the laughing naked lady by one of the trailers.

So I packed up my truck, left the carving unfinished, and headed to Sacramento. Didn't have a clue what to do but felt as if I'd just escaped from something really bad so was very happy and sang all the way to town. After I ran some errands in Sacramento and was heading north on route 5 I pulled over at the first rest stop and called the two people with whom I'd made arrangements to visit next. They weren't home, so I decided to call a friend, Laura, who lives in Redwood Valley, and she answered. I asked if I could visit her for the rest of the month and she said the master bedroom (with attached bathroom) was presently empty in the house next door and I was welcome to stay there. Yahoo! The photo below is the one I shot of what it looked like when I woke up the following morning - snow! I knew I had to get away from that horrible freezing goat farm - my intuition never fails me. I made up my mind that I'm going to spend next winter in either India or Peru. I can work, travel, learn new things, meet new people, live much more cheaply than anywhere here, and be warm!

In Redwood Valley my friend David told me I could create large land art on a piece of property he owned on top of a mountain overlooking a lake resort. So we hiked up there a couple of times and looked around but it was just too overgrown with trees and bushes to do anything. It was fun hiking though.

Most days I hiked to the bottom (literally) of the road and one morning shot this photo (below).

I used my time in the mountains productively and made the book (below) as a gift for my friend Laurie because of the wonderful going away gift she gave me when I left Santa Cruz. I used these wooden book covers to make a video of how I make my wooden books (I'm always getting e-mails from people asking how to do it) but haven't had time to edit it together yet. It will be in the next posting.

I spent a night in Medford with Susan, a member of the writer's group I used to be in when I lived in that area. It turns out that Susan is also a member of the Adult Indigo group where I connected with Adrianne, my host in Eugene. She says that the Indigos are gathering, in Oregon apparently. Susan is writing a book about her great grandmother who her great grandfather had locked up in a mental ward for over 48 years because she'd been unfaithful to him. Men used to have that power in the "good" old days. Anyway, it's a fascinating story.

I'm now in Eugene and I'm staying with Adrianne who I met on the Adult Indigo website and I discovered that once again I've landed on my feet. Adrianne and her daughter, Sparrow, are both very good singers - Adrianne used to sing in a band with her ex-husband. We spent my first two evenings here singing together - total bliss. I've decided to make my first music video - we're going to use Sparrow as our front-person lead singer (she's pretty, 24 years old, and size one(?when did they invent this size?) and we'll be the backup singers. Yahoo!


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