I showed him this video from this summer's Working Song ---
as we sing Laurence's song,
"Busy yourself making beauty,
busy yourself making love,
busy yourself making friendship,
and everything else will work out,"
--- Mike is heartened.
"Keep up the good work!" He says.
We have a long ways to go. Let's keep working.
Here is two more recent videos of some working-and-singing together, as we prepare and install an earthen floor at the Port Townsend Ecovillage.
The opportunity to work on this project came at a turbulent time for me... things were stressful, and I realized I needed a daily practice and could think of only one thing that I really wanted to do every day --- swim in the ocean. Day One of this personal commitment, members of the Ecovillage were also at the beach, at our regular swim spot. They expressed a need for help with their earthen floors. I happened to be out of work for the rest of the month.
While I was an answer to their immediate prayers, they were an answer to a specific prayer I made back in the spring, for clients who would offer my opportunities within my skillset where we would create something beautiful on their land with people I love.
The whole project has been full of mutually beneficial expressions. A consistent stream of angels passing through Port Townsend have put their love and song into the mud. Thanks especially to Marlow, Searra, and Liat, helping hands from out of town, Dan for your commitment to helping with what ever is happening, and Gretchen for your neighborly enthusiasm. Thanks also to the crew of a dozen or so friends who helped us harvest clay that had fallen from the high cliffs down onto the beach where we swim (and I'm so grateful we only got a warning and not a ticket for our illicit activities!) Thanks for Terri & Jim for being amazing people, coordinating the whole project and working harder than anyone, and being open to collaboration, and for Bekka entrusting us to work on your room. To everyone who brought and taught and sang songs. It's an honor to work with all of you. This project has had a lot of ups and down and I'm proud of us for persisting and finding solutions through trial-and-error-and-error-and-embracing-the-process-and-error-and-working-and-success.
The floor is dry and ready for oil this week.
Yesterday was a slow day, mostly at spent at home, contemplating, grieving, creek swimming, sun laying. I finally came to work in the late afternoon. I was there about ten minutes, making a whole bunch of noise chopping straw with a weed whacker. At some moment, I looked up and saw a huge heron walking across the lumber pile. Ha! I couldn't contain myself... since the weed whacker was then off, I yelled, "What are you DOING here? You're so beautiful!" It was the closest I've ever been to heron, the pleating dark and white neck feathers, the subtle colours, the graceful movements of its neck. I called Jim out of the house to see, and it didn't pay us much mind as we kept our distance enough.
With my yelling out of the way, I followed silently for some time and my heart felt like it was generating a bubble of happiness the size of the entire neighborhood block. The heron walked the rest of the lumber, back to the foam insulation, across the sand pile (I'm peeking around the big machine of a mortar mixer to see it), around the house, and through the neighbor's garden, finally flying over me toward the swing set... all in hot sunny-September dry-land. How unusual! Earth and its creatures know just the right medicine needed for these kinds of days; awe and a little bit of humour. A heron on a lumber pile. Hearing protection and respirator dangling off my face. Unexpected and odd beauty. Goodness.
I have been oscillating much recently with the work-track I've gotten myself on or into, somehow, busy with building projects. I often doubt that this - building - is really what I'm "supposed" to be doing. I feel like Jaber Crowe, in the novel by Wendall Berry, who comes upon barbership in his life pretty much by continuous happenstance.
But I think I made peace with doing building projects; there is no need to force another way of being in the world prematurely. This is good, how it is, now. I used to hesitate when I would say, "I'm a builder." Am I? I'm a poet. Am I? I'm an astrologer. Am I? I'm an organizer. Am I? I'm a gardener. Am I? I'm a griever. A healer. Who am I?
And it's clearer to me now: it is much easier to manifest a feeling than an actual thing, a path, a picture. And the feelings of working with people who value song, ritual, deep connection, grief, patience, healing, love... this is coming to me through the building world - to my surprise? Not really, surprise, but sort of surprise. Definitely humble delight. Now I say, "I'm a builder," and underneath my words, I know what I mean. I mean something literal, and I mean that I doubt myself sometimes and that's okay. I mean I build with and share my life with people who value song, ritual, deep connection, grief, patience, healing, and love. And it's maybe just for now, and it's certainly only one part of me. But it is a reflection of all of me, and all of us, and we're doing it well, as well as we can.
I am - we all are - souls in a body, growing slowly. We are always in a continuous state of becoming. Becoming ourselves. Coming home to ourselves. We are messy and ungraceful and full of boundless creativity. And we're here to grow. To bump into each other and learn from each other, honor each other, let go of each other, embrace each other, be alone, be together, sing, dance, yell, sit, express, silence.
And we absolutely need each other, to hear each other's stories, to work together to protect our Home. To fight for our Home. To stand up for what we know is right of us, right for Earth, right for water, air, soil, people, creatures of all kinds. We need each other to do this.
It all reminds me, magic exists everywhere, every day, every way, with every one.