I just finished up a “meeting” with an amazing person here, Coyote. He’s a former English professor in his 60s with fantastic stories about his time breaking codes during the Vietnam war, his realizations about government and power, things that I shouldn’t write about in public, and life in general. We’re co-managing a part of the community called “Outside Work”, the system through which people do work off the farm and earn money that goes to the community, and get labor credits in exchange. It’s the system through which I’ve been doing the college speaking tour, and now I’m helping Coyote co-manage it. We meet in his room once a week for an hour, spend the first 20 minutes talking about Outside Work, and the rest of the time talking about Life. He’s always ready to offer any of various drinks he keeps in his room (this week it was Irish Whiskey), and can pull any book off of his shelves with a fantastic recommendation and a story about the author, like any good English professor.

Sometimes when we’re sitting in his room, my consciousness just steps back and takes it all in: the lighting, the music in the background, the timbre of his voice, and the span of his smile. I file a mental documentary in my archives, intentionally storing the moment as a piece of my life, a slice of my experience that forms the whole of who I am.