Mom. Dad, Davy & Jannis,
My conversation last night with Mom and Dad brought to my attention that the daily goings on of your daughter, sister and friend are a mystery due to my own lack of communication. I would like to rectify this now to some degree by explaining and average day where I am right now. Please keep in mind that it has been different on each of the three farms we have worked so far and during the interim time on the road or in houses of friends.
Currently, we get a knock on our door from Patrick, our host, at 6:30am. He and his wife Meredith make coffee and oats with apples while we all bustle about between bedrooms, bathrooms and cars to get ready for the day. At 7 the sun is up and we are following behind Patrick's electric car in a reverse commute from Oakland, CA to Concord, CA about 30 minutes to the Northeast. The sky is orange and pink and Morning Edition is playing on the radio.
Patrick parks his car in the hospital parking lot so it can charge. We meet him in the garden where he points and directs us until the school bell rings and he unlocks the big red backdoor of his classroom to greet his students.
Jenny and I listen to podcasts and cultivate soil. Patrick is the Sustainable Hospitality Services & Environmental Science teacher at Mt. Diablo High School. Each year he applies for a $55,000 grant to pay kids to help out with the garden two days a week starting early spring and extending through Fall. Patrick relies on WWOOFers like us to maintain the garden and keep it from loosing its figure during the off season. Patrick took pride in the garden's 'Certified Organic' status but that label was recently retracted when Patrick had to resort to poisoning the squirrels that were terrorizing the place. He tried a sling shot and a bb gun to no avail. Squirrels.
We work for four hours a day in this garden. The sun comes up over the Social Studies building. Students saunter by accompanied by the classical music that blares in the precious minutes between classes. At 11:45 we scrape the mud off our boots, knock on Patrick's door and a students inevitably answers the door to take our tools. I overhear Patrick's explanation of nuclear power and I understand for the first time.
We go over to the Home Ec building and Chef Cindy shares with us the meal she's prepared for the staff. There are lighted white towers in the room sprouting fresh greens. Students and teachers enter and exit with unspoken purpose. Jenny and I silently observe as we eat, trying to decipher the comings and goings. Chef Cindy is too busy to answer our questions, she asks for help and we oblige.
We get back to Oakland around one. We have a few hours of solitude then. I shower, meditate, practice, write, run. Jenny reads, naps, showers, runs.
We alternate every other day between afternoons of writing/playing music and applying to grad school/doing Loom Calliope Rubyfruit administrative work. Finding a safe spot to rehearse in has been a challenge. Outside, bathrooms and bedrooms have been the most reliable.
Then, tired but feeling pressure to take advantage of the city and the people that love it Jenny and I might hang out with Jessie, Olivia, Jake, Ben. We might go together or separately. Many times we make dinner, read and sleep like rock dog baby logs.
It takes a couple of days in each spot to create a routine. The in between days we drive 6 hours mostly in daylight and stay with a Couchsurfing or Air B&B host that we find en route. We just finished the audiobook 'Needful Things' by Stephen King and it was terrifying.
So, yes, everything I am doing is 'volunteer' but I'm working hard and at the end of the day I am satisfied and craving more at the same time.
Love you miss you,