“Comings and goings “ is a regular agenda item in our weekly community meeting: this week Chris, Kate and little Fergus left after being here for almost six months. Everybody deals with parting in a different way- some are able to express their feelings right there in the moment, for others the “missing” of the person doesn’t begin until after they’re gone. Here we sing a song as farewell:

“while you are away
from your people we do pray
that in your searching you will find
balance in your heart and mind “

Spending a few months together we get used to the place/ role someone takes on in the web of community. Chris spent a lot of time building and fixing things and I will miss his confidence as builder. Kate inspired me to start running again this spring- thank you!

And Fergus, being the youngest child on site, gave us all the chance to be silly and to remember how quickly children grow. In the time here he learned to walk and is now speaking his first words.

I wonder how the fact that we have so many people coming in and out affects the children. What does Fergus think now? Here a toddler is surrounded by people outside the family: older children and adults who give attention and interact with him. It is safe here for parents to give their child a larger range of movement- there are many eyes on the children.

So Kate, Chris and Fergus: we wish you well on your journey and hope to see you again soon!

Today is the second big day of arrivals: Welcome skillbuilders! The tent village fills up and we start our “permaculturalization” tomorrow morning.

And Friday and Saturday were the final days of the Small Straw Bale workshop: Friday was spent doing a lot of filling: with light clay, cob and straw.
On Saturday we applied the “bodycoat” and everyone got muddy! Have a look:

Three days and thirteen people and we have a little building. At the end of a workshop I have few words- feeling the satisfaction of the richness of working together and seeing results:

We all look forward to continuing the workshop next Friday for the Body coat!

The fact that today we celebrate Mothers day stimulated a conversation about families over pancakes this morning.
When I asked one of the interns about his parent’s age he said “mid fifties” and I realized: that’s me- almost. My mother talked about that too: “I think of you as 25 still…” just as I think of her as 40-something.
Aging sneaks up on you- by now I’m supposed to be all grown up and have life figured out. But the reality is: I keep learning: about myself and the world, always changing and creating, and I still wonder “what am I going to do with my life?”
Looking back the path is pretty obvious but looking ahead there are choices to be made, obstacles to overcome and many unknowns. Being in relationship with my partner influences my choices as does my relationship to this community.
When recently the women held a crone ceremony for me I felt the call to move into the role of an elder. Who are my models for this?

In community we get to see all the stages of life and have relationships with all generations. That makes for good conversations around the fire or the dinner table and offers much inspiration to me. It reminds me of other perspectives and needs, and challenges my habits!

And to wrap up for today a link to some further reading:
One of our interns this year just published an article about permaculture in Urban gardening magazine. Congratulations Javan!

PS. :Monday morning and someone just sent this Mother’s day you tube link that I’d like to share with you:

Every year, sometime in spring, the day comes when the interns of the season arrive. We anticipate this day with curiosity, excitement and a bit of anxiety: how will the new members of the community fit with each other, with those of us who have been here a while and with the place and our organization and its peculiar ways.
Over the years we have created a process that we call “permaculturalization” – a way of bringing us all together as learning community. We spend between 3 and 5 days with activities focused on getting to know each other, connecting with place, building trust, playing games, and downloading information about O.U.R. Ecovillage. We create a vision for the season, talk about personal goals and make team agreements. Guest facilitators bring in pieces about conflict resolution, team building games, personality profiles or body awareness.
This past week was this year’s spring staff retreat. 25 of us spent many hours in the yurt, learning about the ecovillage structures both visible and invisible. We had workshops on successful meeting facilitation with Dawn Smith, Village elements with John Andreas, strategic planning with Rick Juliussen and conflict resolution with Brandon Tallman. Our teams (kitchen, office, building and food production) took turns cooking meals – an opportunity to find out how we work together.
Explaining to others how things work here I really bring to my own awareness all the small bits that have become pattern: how to use the composting toilet, where to put the recycling, who to ask for what, how the greenhouse shower works and so on. There are so many details and there’s a story that goes which each one. And so we all become story tellers- the longer we live here the more stories we hold.
Our team agreements are tools: each team lays out their intention on how we want to work together, communicate with each other, hold responsibility, give respect, deal with conflict and get our work done. Through the season we will revisit our agreement regularly and have a look at how we’re doing: are we following what we set out to do? Do we need to re-negotiate?
In summary I believe that as a result of this initial time together we will be safer and more open with each other, which enables us to better learning and working performance.
And when I look at my team this year I am stoked : anticipating fun and lots of action.

Change of topics: Yesterday was World Labyrinth Day and I will post here a few images of the recently finished labyrinth at O.U.R. Ecovillage