Plans have changed. Instead of traveling on wild adventures around the country, I’m having wild adventures right here in central Virginia. Instead of journeying to distant lands, I spent yesterday at the first farmer’s market of the season in Charlottesville, selling mushrooms grown by my… ahem… fiance’ on “our” farm.

I’ve been growing and changing in so many ways over the past 2 months. I think I haven’t been writing because it’s been so overwhelming, and I’ve just barely been staying on top of my own changes, trying to understand them as it all flies by, grasping onto new understandings and ideas before they’ve dissolved into NEW understandings and ideas! I can’t explain it all to myself in my brain, much less put it into words. Now, though, things feel like they’re starting to settle into place. Roots are being established, getting used to the different nutrients of this new soil.

I left for the meditation retreat two months ago, and stayed for 8 days of the 10 day course. I could elaborate on what didn’t work for me, but mostly it just wasn’t a good fit for where I was emotionally at that point. I wanted to be out in the world, exploring and creating, and I got bored with sitting and existing in the moment. The moment was fine, but then I wanted to DO something with the moment! I wanted to write, or dance, or talk with people, or build something. I realized I’m not all that interested in enlightement right now — I want to live on the Earth and experience the cycles of joy and pain! So, a friend and I left together and hitchiked through rural Maryland to DC, where we caught a bus down to Charlottesville. She retured to Twin Oaks, and I returned to Free.

I also realized on my meditation course that I didn’t actually want to travel alone for the next several months. I wanted to start building my life in partnership with this man I’m in love with. Before I left on my travels, we both acknowledged our desire and intention to be partners for life. At some point, he asked me if I thought we’d ever get married. “Sure,” I said, and then he asked, “Is that a proposal?” “Sure!” I said, and it was done. We got rings from an antique store and announced it to our parents. Originally, the plan was that we’d start building our life together when I returned. In those 8 days of meditation, that quickly seemed ludicrous! Traveling around the country was an old dream, and not as powerful for me now as it was 4 years ago. What I want now is to start a garden and build a home and partnership so that I have a solid base when school starts in the fall (yes, I got in! With full funding!).

It’s an engaging and ever-evolving process, this “home creation” thing. He’s been here for nearly a year already, and so I’m moving into what’s already been established, finding the balance of fitting myself in to what exists and changing things to meet my needs. This extends into relationships with his three kids, as I become more a part of their lives and vice versa. They’re delighted to call me their “stepmom” and they make fun of Free and I when we’re too mushy. We have friendships already that have been established over the past 2 years, and now we’re exploring what it’s like to live together, and how discipline and boundary-setting fits into or changes our identities with each other. I got a book from the library about being a step-parent, and basically what it says is “it’s hard!”

Slowly, slowly, I’m settling in. l seeded a garden area with red clover last month, and the sprouts are now well-established and starting to grow. Just today I finished building a cold frame for early plants, and I have some lovely potted herbs in there now, gotten through barter at the farmer’s market. I love this life of growing and sharing and bartering and sharing… even better than the commune where it was institutionalized. Here it’s organic, direct from desire to action, without bureaucracy and systematic structure. In the last hour of the market, we traded nearly 5 pounds of mushrooms with other vendors, walking away with herbs, flowers, scones, cheese, and a pound of organic beef. Who says we’re poor? I just had a snack of fresh organic basil on slices of colby cheese, and it was incredibly luxurious, sitting in the double wide trailer that is now my home. I often lament this place, the poor soil, the beer can and candy wrap littered property, the poorly insulated, made-to-fall-apart building… the weight of my “white trash” stereotypes often turns down the edges of my mouth in a cynical sneer when I think about this place. The more I live here though, it becomes more “home” than “double wide”, more “life” than “labels”. I’m finding a new way of living, again.