I looked out over perfectly preserved alpine forest over a watershed and down to the Pacific Ocean. My heart swelled first in awe and then in disbelief. We stayed overnight with Jenny's cousin, Peter and his partner Cynthia. Peter is a co-founder of the Center for Biological Diversity and conscientious steward of the land he and Cynthia have cared for since they purchased it twenty years ago at a price only possible in a spot previously undiscovered. Peter showed us the alternative energy sources around the property and the plans for more. He stretched up to touch the door frames of the guest house and brimming with pride told us how Cynthia had designed the structure herself, how they had built it together. He built a fire like magic, he made fajitas, we drank wine and talked about Terry Tempest Williams. When asked by the federal government if her bid to buy land was a legitimate bid for energy development she said, "Yes. You can't define what energy is for us. Our energy development is fueling a movement. Keep it in the ground."
Jenny and I said goodnight to our hosts, left the warm wood of the cabin and walked moon-gazing through the woods. I was teary looking up; how will I find any such all-consuming passion? Will I find my feet or have I only a long swim ahead? I looked to Jenny, "Where will our generation live? Where will we find land?" and in the guesthouse she assured me we would. She knelt down in front of my teariness and said with certainty that we will have a beautiful place to be. Wherever we are we'll make it beautiful. So, we slept on a soft bed next to a bright wood stove, the whole notion of 'home' being further and further away from a specific place and closer and closer to a constantly changing state.
The next day we played with the dogs Maggie and Cooper before setting out early for Washington. Peter offered us plum jam as a parting gift. "Take this. I'm so sick of it. We have jars of it left over from last year but that's what people do around here- make jam."
In the car we whisked through misty redwood forest, the rip of fast wheels on wet pavement hissing through the open window, and we listened to accounts of the dismantling of Calais. Refugees seeking safety in Europe created a makeshift community they call The Jungle. Three thousand five hundred people hunkered down near the entrance to the Chunnel in the hopes of finding new homes in England. Europe has no where to put these people. Space was at a premium even before the influx. An aid worker said that French authorities waited at bay and as soon as a home was vacant for any reason it was taken apart as if it had never existed.
And I was very quiet then. My doubts about my generation's future from the night before swallowed whole by a heavy aching behemoth. Where will we all find homes? How can we all find homes? When will I stop thinking of food, shelter, safety and a voice as things I am entitled to by virtue of my having a body? Those things are things I have by accident of birth. Those things are things I have only through the generosity and kindness of others. No amount of work I do or things I buy or hopes I have will make me or those I love any more deserving of comfort than anyone in The Jungle.
But what to do with that?