The Labyrinth at Rose Creek
I thought I would be posting sooner than now, though “re-entry” into reality has left me a little shell shocked and bewildered. I was away for two weeks at a permaculture design course outside Ashville, N.C., but it wasn’t the run of the mill pc course. For starters, we were spoiled with three ‘organilocal’ squares a day, which were shared over in depth conversations of conflict resolution, tantra, permaculture playground design for burning man and the like. This was preceded and or followed by various earth based rituals with lots of singing, sharing and getting in touch with your inner self (looking like a fool).
Laying out contours w/ an A-frame and a quick permaculture design on 1/8 acre
Not to be taken lightly, this was an intensive course to say the least. Interwoven with the required course material, including a design project and participation in a no-talent show, we were sporadically exposed to surprise actions in which we were enticed to procure a collective intelligent response. As example, a spontaneous dance party broke out between lectures and was abruptly halted when we (the dancers) were corralled by the police (actor children and other students) and beaten with batons (paper batons). Things got quite physical when we banded together, fell to the floor and started to chant. The police, thoroughly engaged (and enjoying it) in their role, began to attempt to pull people (me) from the pack. I was ultimately terrified of becoming seperated from my sisters & brethren, who had a firm clasp on my extremities to the point at which I began to wonder if this were a real direct action, would I simply be pulled apart? Note: see Starhawk’s non-violent activism resources.
Jack’s restored 67 VW
There were herb walks, where I learned how to identify water hemlock – ‘veins to the cut, pain in the gut – veins to the tip, everything is hip.’ There were peaceful nights in the tent and wet soggy mornings in the tent. There was a girl named Dragonfly, a guy named Noah who is an active member of the International Solidarity Movement, a girl that was studying to be a doctor in Cuba and the author of Radical Healing, among other inspiring souls. I didn’t get as dirty as hoped due to the relocation of our course, but I did get to hike to the Tennessee River and take a dip. Oh, and the mead. If I got nothing else out of this course, I took away an intense interest in mead and mead making.
Noah & Kelly exhibit their Fire Poi talents
We were remotely located away from cell phone service and nearby towns, so we created our own “bar” at our retreat, where the organic porters, double belgian brews, ports and meads flowed. I sampled apple-lemon cyser, hyssop-anise metheglin, apricot-cinnamon melomel and various other home made meads. I witnessed a small (30-40 gallons) homebrew mead operation, a mead making demonstration at the no-talent show and various wild yeasters sporting their wares. Within two days of arriving home, I had a gallon of Joe’s Ancient Orange mead bubbling away on the counter and another gallon in the makings.
Mead at AVI
I got to hang with the female permaculture heavy weights for two weeks, Starhawk, Penny Livingston-Stark and Patricia Allison. I forewent the day trip (our one day off) to Earthaven Ecovillage to catch up on some much needed relaxation. Ah, another time I’ll make the trip to see how they have assembled their little village. I’m back home now, immersed in courses and design work. Back to 90 + degree days and the land of the flatwoods. Got mead?