LDO: A month in review

The Goddess has touched me; I have undergone Her Mystic Rytes and received my Landdyke name; henceforth I shall be known to all as Abundance WinterVisions, grateful and devoted servant of She Who–Heh. Just kidding. You should know by now you won’t read any of that woo-woo crap on this blog. And yet I realize that despite my best intentions I have romanticized my women’s land experiences thus far. Let’s give that up right now, because August has been freakin’ hard. First of all–the weather. It rained almost every day; it was grey and cloudy and humid and it rained, a lot. I should be grateful that it was fairly cool, I guess, but it was sticky and sloppy and the road was a mess. As I noted before, we did some digging to improve drainage, but not nearly enough, and a few spectacular thunderstorms later you could barely tell we’d done anything at all. And guess who loves an excess of water just lying around? Yep–mosquitos. If there’s a square inch of my body that doesn’t sport an itchy red bump, I’m hard pressed to identify it. Second–living in a 400-square-foot one-room space with another person and two felines–even another person and two felines that you love as life itself–can lead to feeling like a lobster in a pot. I kept trying to crawl out, only to be shoved back down into the pressure cooker.

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The 400-square-foot one-room space, circa 2000, upon initial completion.

I didn’t have the time and space alone that I am accustomed to, to collect my thoughts and be able to blog, or do anything else private, for that matter, right down to picking the lint out of my belly button. Women would often drop by to chat as I was trying to earn my living; they are not used to women working for wages on the land, and despite the sometimes nearly overwhelming desire to do so, saying, “Oh, gee, I really can’t visit with you right now, I’m busy slaving for The Man, so get out,” is simply not done.

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The 400-square-foot one-room space as she appears today; note the lovely south porch, added this spring.

And the solar electrical system was mysteriously malfunctioning. I am not in the habit of monitoring my electrical usage, to the constant dissatisfaction of the system’s owner, who (obsessively, if you ask me) kept checking the battery meter and muttering unhappily because the readout hovered in the 60-80% range–and I would leap guiltily to shut down my laptop which I had extravagantly left just sitting there running. Third — the community is getting ready to host an annual gathering of 40-50 lesbians, which involves a great deal of work. The women here are normally fairly independent and though they may gather in twos and threes, do not usually travel in a pack. The proximity and cooperation required by the task of organizing such a gathering naturally generates, shall we say, some friction. As simultaneously the newest and youngest participant in the planning and organizing process, I frequently feel like I have six big sisters–I have to resign myself to the fact that I just never know the right answer, to anything. As a former big sister myself, the humbling is probably good for me, but golly it’s exhausting to constantly be corrected. It also wears on the nerves to be the dopey go-between for two women who aren’t talking to each other. It’s fortunate I’m so good-natured; I just kept imagining one of those stupid sitcom scenes where the family is sitting around the dinner table and the father tells the kid, “Ask your mother to pass the salt,” and this made it easier to laugh at the ludicrousness of the situation rather than dissolve in tears of frustration and annoyance or (more likely) snap, “Would you please just freakin grow up!?!?!?!?”This community, like all groups, has a history of conflict. I have known about this for some time, but my understanding of the situation keeps broadening and deepening as new insights and new bits of information come my way. Each person has a slightly different take on past events, and if I were a psychologist or an anthropologist I’d probably be fascinated and taking copious notes; instead I just get weary trying to imagine how so many years of “She said!” and “She did!” — so many opinions of what was the key event and exactly whose fault it was that that particular shit hit that particular fan–could ever be resolved into a community I could bear to be a part of. The reality is that they probably can’t, and I’m going to have to make my decision based on other factors. Things like the way the golden sun falls through the grass in the early evening, the quiet quiet quiet, the constant presence of birds and rabbits and snakes, the way being active and strong is just part of daily life instead of one more thing I have to make time for, coyotes singing at night, the opportunity to have a fun brown bag lunch with five other women on a weekday afternoon, hearing the donkeys bawling down in the valley in the morning on my way to the bucket, being able to go outside naked whenever I want (mosquitos be damned!), the possibility of building a little clean green space just for me and having a safe cheap place to live for the rest of my life, if I want it.The good news is, I’m home in the big city for the moment, enjoying all the porcelain wonders of modern plumbing; I now appreciate a long hot shower for the luxury it is.

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