Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I’m home. It was a great time. I got home and the house was clean and Jeff was making me dinner. He had cleaned out more of the raised beds, done some laundry, mowed the lawn… he’s my favorite. I did miss him, and I was glad to be home when I got there, but this trip really did me some good I think. Lindsay and Isiah were the perfect hosts, I felt totally welcome and at ease. Columbus is a really cool place. I had driven through before, but never really hung out there. It seems like Ann Arbor/Ypsi only without all the crappy roads and mismanaged taxes and crappy schools (I’m guessing they have good schools based on the hoards of children and families everywhere you looked). It pulled me out of the local bubble and showed me how lacking we are here, in some ways. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a total Ypsi loyalist and I love this place for what it is, but with a kid you start to consider some new things.

Anyway, it opened my eyes some. I talked to Jeff about it and he seemed hesitant because he really wants to be close to our families. However, he said he thinks I’m right that we should stay open to relocating if that’s what we’re meant to do. I’m big into trusting the process, and I would hate to miss a good opportunity just because we had imagined staying here. That may very well be what we are supposed to do, but I don’t think we should shut the door. Michigan is suffering right now, and it’s crazy expensive to live here at the same time. I don’t want to send Vera to Ypsi schools, but living in Ann Arbor is unrealistic for us with our desire for a little land, etc. It’s almost unrealistic in Ypsi too… We wouldn’t be able to afford it living as simply as we’d like. So it pretty much confines me to homeschooling or charter schools, which I’ve considered anyway, but I don’t like being stuck in it. What if I needed to work more than I’d planned, or whatever?
Also, our reasons for being here are centered around family and community. We love our families, and we really value being within arm’s reach. Unfortunately, I feel like my community is sorely lacking. My old friends are just not in the same place as I am. This is normal and natural and I don’t resent any of it, however I feel like I need people around me who have common values and goals, and are similarly motivated to live in a sustainable and responsible way. I love my friends, but I was the first to get hitched, the first to have a kid, and most of them talk about having kids in 10 years or so. I can feel the chasm widening between us. I don’t think I’ll ever lose my friends, but things have definitely changed, and honestly I am left wondering about what kind of a community I have versus what kind I want. I’m sure I will make new friends, some of my friends will have kids, some will move away, some will get married, some will stay the same. I guess I’m just in need of a true and solid support system right now, and I don’t feel like I have the one I would like eventually.

It got me thinking about how important a sense of community is to me. I mean, we’re pack animals right? We need each other. This day and age it seems like we can fool ourselves into thinking we don’t need each other anymore. Just two days of being with two of my favorite people/mommas got me thinking about how much I want this. Two tots and a baby and yet it seemed easier to me. Like, these women are here to support and uphold me. It was encouraging. Back in the day, people were very community centered- because it made sense to be! I’m betting that they rarely went a day without seeing their families. They worked together, they ate together, they celebrated together, they raised their kids together, and on and on. I know that these days that’s not for everyone, but I just… want it.

I have this vision of some houses on a pretty piece of land, a bike ride from the city. A big shared garden, a greenhouse, a barn with chickens and goats, a central building that has a kitchen, a library, a food storage area in the basement, a music room, lots of couches in a central room surrounding a fireplace… then we all have our own houses that suit our own needs. I envision a place where we can all support each other and also be separate. We can have our own lives, our own families and partnerships and jobs, but we can also come back together and watch our children play. We can help each other live more sustainably and healthily, with more joy. I know my parents had a similar vision with their “cluster” that they formed when I was a kid. Although people eventually moved on for various reasons, these people continue to be very important to me. The adults in the community I still refer to as “aunt” and “uncle” and their kids, my friends, I feel are as related to me as my cousins. So regardless of the fact that the community fizzled eventually, it succeeded in a sense. Anyway, I truly hope that can become a reality for Jeff and I and our kids. I think it can if we want it to.

May 3rd:
Saturday morning was very rainy, but Lindsay’s partner, Isiah, and I went up to the farmer’s market anyway. We got fresh local asparagus (nothing like it!) and salad greens for that night, and I also bought a snapdragon plant. On our way back there were these guys collecting money from cars with these yellow things on that said “HELP RETARDED CHILDREN”. Um, yeah. So we wondered if they were really that in touch with the “retards” they were collecting for. We had a good chuckle, and hoped that the poncho things were made several decades ago.

May 4th:
Eli and Tuula. Sooo fun to watch this weekend. I can’t wait until Vera can interact with them. They certainly tried to interact with her… haha.
Tuula is making the sign for “more” in this photo.

May 5th:
I bought some chairs off craigslist for our back patio. I love them. They even fold up. It came with small table too, although it’s very damaged so we plan to resurface it somehow and make the top bigger.

The Song Of
The Snapdragon Fairy

Into the Dragon’s mouth he goes;
never afraid is he!
There’s honey within for him, he knows,
Clever old Bumble Bee!
The mouth snaps tight; he is lost to sight–
How will he ever get out?
He’s doing it backwards–nimbly too,
Though he is somewhat stout!

Off to another mouth he goes;
Never a rest has he;
He must fill his honey-bag full, he knows–
Busy old Bumble Bee!
And Snapdragon’s name is only a game–
It isn’t as fierce as it sounds;
The Snapdragon Elf is pleased as Punch
When Bumble comes on his rounds!

from “Flower Fairies of the Garden”
by Cicely Mary Barker


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