6 Jul 2011, 12:07am
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the first time i took the myers-briggs personality type indicator—that’s the one where you end up one of sixteen four-letter personality types, like ENFP—was in my junior year of high school, with the rest of my class. i came out right in the middle of the E/I extrovert/introvert continuum. all of my friends were introverts, and i figured i was, too, ’cause i liked to read books and listen to music by myself and i’d never been one of the “popular” kids. a few years later when i’d been in college for awhile and had met all these people who felt just like me and liked me as much as i liked them, i decided i was an extrovert after all, ’cause i loved hanging out with my friends doing nothing and/or everything in particular. i read somewhere that an introvert is someone who replenishes their energy stores by being alone, while an extrovert replenishes theirs in a crowd.

it’s been a busy couple of weeks here at the farm. my mom visited a few days before the solstice, and while she was here the two-week permaculture design course that happens here every june began. for two weeks an extra thirty-some folks camped out in the meadow and played music around the fire circle late into every night. caterers took over our kitchen and we played sous-chef for an hour and a half every day in exchange for our meals. on top of our regular farm duties, we set out coffee, tea, and snacks; maintained a little makeshift bathroom station down in the meadow; and so on. on the last night we all stayed up for a “passion show,” sharing songs and tales.

then in the morning some folks left but another hundred-plus folks arrived, for the bay area permaculture convergence. we found space for all of them, cars and tents—and one “coboose” made of bamboo and earthen plaster—and all. we scrounged up 150 plates and forks. we split everyone up into meal clean-up groups, which worked out all right for the most part.

i was pretty exhausted at this point. after a long day on sunday, i went to bed early with a little bit of a headache and woke up several hours later with a full-blown, full-body migraine. eventually i managed to fall back asleep, and woke up the morning of the fourth feeling okay.

the pdc was over and the convergence was over. the farm was hosting an “interdependence day” cob oven pizza party of indeterminate size sometime in the afternoon. so in the morning jason and i rode our bike the three miles to bolinas, over the rolling hills, mostly downhill, both of us suddenly exuberant in the sun. we watched the annual bolinas v. stinson beach tug-o-war across the narrow channel that separates the two towns (ten miles of road; a few meters of water), walked on the beach, and then followed the crowd to the sweetest little parade you ever saw, kicked off by an elderly woman singing the national anthem; when she hit the high notes everyone in town cheered. i liked bolinas before yesterday; after yesterday, i love it. i loved everything about bolinas yesterday. a booth where you could tell a joke and get a free beer. samba dancers and drummers. a ridiculous float parodying the tea party movement, complete with the mad hatter and a woman in a sarah palin mask with an inflatable machine gun. gospel flat farm’s float full of young farmers tossing fresh carrots at the crowd. the hot asphalt under my bare feet. and the sun and the ocean, o the ocean.

i biked back to the farm in the afternoon and fell asleep on a couch in the bunkhouse while guests chatted over pizza outside. i retreated here a lot when i wasn’t running around doing this or that during the pdc and the convergence, feeling just plain tuckered out by the sheer number of people wandering around the land that is the closest thing to home i’ve got right now. i didn’t connect the way i felt i ought to with too many of those people. i had hit a saturation point, i suppose, and, needing that certain kind of energy replenished, i flipped over to introversion. too much time alone finds me restless and aimless, and i flip back.

a couple of weeks ago i had a dream and then another sort of meta-dream, in which my subconscious sat me down and made me figure out what the dream had meant. the dream was gone in the morning, but the lesson remained: “the problems we create for ourselves are harder to solve than the problems others create for us.” in permaculture we call that “zone zero” work—where zone one is the area (or, in social permaculture, the people) closest to us, and zone zero is us. i have some zone zero work to do, for sure. for example: what, exactly, are the problems i am creating for myself? and what, exactly, is beyond them?

i have been feeling huge amounts of anxiety about my future lately. looking for a job, etc. (know of any sweet environmental education and/or elementary education jobs in the east bay? let me send you my resume and a kick-ass cover letter.) i feel guilty all the time about something i’m sure i should be doing that i’m not, yet. probably this guilt and anxiety is one of those problems i’m creating for myself. so i sit in the sun, listen to the birds, take some deep breaths and say to my community here, “maybe even if i’m doing everything wrong for my future, i’m doing something right for my present.” and then i do my work, and get my rest, and dance on the beach, and life, the way it does, goes on.

this is not in the east bay, but I thought of you anyway http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/hea/2480983408.html



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