Here we are at Blue Heron Farm in the centerish of North Carolina, near Chapel Hill. Blue Heron is a commune of around thirty people of all ages that live sustainable lives. They build their own houses and grow their own food, sharing skills and produce with each other. Some people have lived here for years and started a family. Others were travelers who came not knowing they weren’t going to leave. Our Wwoofing host, Debbie, says it’s easy to fall in love with this place.
The people at Blue Heron are exposing me to more possibilities in life. Yesterday, Taylor took his guitar to the neighbors porch and jammed with a couple guys in their late twenties. One had a jembe (an African drum) and said he was still learning how to jam with guitars. He worked around Chatham County as a handyman using skills he picked up at Blue Heron. As long as he can get his hands on something, he said, he can figure out how it works. That’s called having a mechanical brain, something I definitely don’t have but am trying to improve on.
The great thing about Wwoofing is that you don’t make any money, but you don’t spend any either. Taylor and I are simply acquiring valuable life skills that will help us live more sustainable lives in the future. Blue Heron has a mechanic, a carpenter, herbalists, all sorts of farmers and gardeners, artists and potters. There’s something to learn from everyone and they are more than willing to offer.
Life is a Big Jam
I watched Handyman, with an Afro-Cuban background, and Taylor, with a bluesy folk-rock background, adjust and improvise to each other. That’s when I thought, my life is one big jam right now. No longer bound by social authority and school imposed sheet music, we are free from bars, free from the counting conductor and conformed instruments. We live a song with no repeats, no end to our melody. Our rhythm is wild abandon, unpredictable and ever-changing. Do you know how it feels to have no idea what your life will be two weeks from now? Even tomorrow? To discuss the future in statements of “What if”? To have the ripest, tangiest fruits of your desire call the shots? To be chased by the sunrise, swayed by the winds of visceral impulse, clutched by the stars in a relentless gaze, willfully lost together. Nothing and everything is insatiable.
As Handyman and Taylor played, the smell of dinner wafted onto the porch. Pork chops and baked squash made by Handyman’s partner, Hannah. I hear more and more people use the term partner rather than girlfriend or boyfriend. The gender neutral term is refreshing. It emphasizes equality and togetherness, most importantly teamwork. I always felt a little annoying, anyways, when I heard myself say “My boyfriend this and that, blahbiddyblah.” Ugh, spare me.
I don’t know what I want except that I want exactly what I have right now. Handyman told us that he and Hannah just bought a bus and turned it into a house on wheels. I guess they won’t be at Blue Heron much longer. Travel calls.