I made a fruit crisp with it on there. I ate dinner with it on there. I sat around a dinner table, listening to people around me discuss religion and family, while my hand delicately held my chin in contemplation, all with pig drool crusted black on my wrist. It's there right now. I'm in bed.
The last wash my hair had was a rinse under the outside hose, no shampoo. The small patches of hair all over my body is beginning to stand out like ants on a patch of ice. My version of makeup is rinsing my eyes with water in the morning. I think as a woman, it's safe to say, just one of these things could make a girl feel like a monster under the right circumstances. But, I feel beautiful. The smoke from the fire followed me all evening, so I know it's true. A woman who had been a stranger just a couple hours before and someone I came to admire throughout the evening, kissed my cheek during our departure and told me, “You're amazing.” I feel solid. I feel that I always say what I'm feeling, so I'll simply state: today was a good day.
Last night I had a nightmare that seemed to last for hours. I dreamt that the person I had been dating before I moved was trying to kill me. We were only seeing each other for a couple months and still talk, so it didn't make sense that I would imagine him in SUCH a negative light. I mean, a murderer. I hope he doesn't read this, because I am not telling. But, him and this blonde bodacious woman he worked for had it out for me, in the dream. I was shopping in her store and my nice, camera went missing (a camera I don't own, but have always wanted). I knew she took it, but she denied it. I demanded they show me the entire store, back area and all. Suddenly, there were all these other employees that seemed more like circus freaks. There was an overwhelming ominous sense. I knew I was in a nightmare.
You can feel a nightmare. The plots don't usually make sense and are laughable in context. But, no matter what it is, it's the worst feeling you've ever felt and it doesn't go away. In the dream, I left, but knew what was going to happen. They showed up where I was, kidnapped me and proceeded to torture and mock me for what felt like an eternity. It seems like things lag on in my dreams, because I'm trying to work them out. I try to solve whatever is happening and time allows me to practice.
I tried pleading with him, the guy that I knew (and that I feel terrible about painting in this light). I tried escaping in many different ways. Nothing was working. They were punishing me for hurting him. At least that's what I think. They all hated me and I was definitely going to pay...for making them look for my camera?
In reality, I had hurt him a bit, emotionally, and which I perhaps still feel bad about. I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend time with someone, no matter how much I like them. I had ended a relationship and was preparing to move. Practically, it wasn't a good idea. So, on two different occasions, I told him I didn't want to hang out anymore. He always accepted this, very maturely and never tried to change my mind. And every single time, I immediately knew I made the wrong decision and that it was based out of fear and not from the place of independence and self-sustainability, like I had thought. Luckily, he was more emotionally mature than me, cared for me and understood what I was feeling to forgive and forget. We are on great terms. I shouldn't be beating myself up about it. But I am, at least unconsciously.
In my dream world, the evil seems to come out. It interacts with my fears, mistakes and personal surroundings. This makes for some troubling visions I try to forget. I always remember my dreams. I dream every night. This world both frightens and confounds me. I am riveted by the universe my brain creates without my permission, and I have come to accept and relax in the face of some of the more disturbing experiences, kind of. They still get to me sometimes. But, I've spent years dealing with them. Back when I was a pre-teen. I would wake up balling. I would think the nightmare would happen for real. I would believe I had a demon in me. I couldn't find the strength, objectivity reasoning or distraction to get over them. I thought they were visions from God, or Satan and I was supposed to head them, whatever that means.
I think my dreams are a place where the part of me I am running from is free to come out. It's like it gets let off of it's leash at night and terrorizes the town until it falls asleep, car tire in its mouth. The self-hating, insecure side that would have me feel guilty about everything I've done wrong, forever, this guy. I would feel the emotional residue from the night before, all day. The guilt, the rawness of it all, The search for meaning haunted me after a nightmare like this. You know what I felt today? Great. A little tired, but overall, not bothered much. I think I've figured this thing out.
I think living a life during the day that you are happy with is just as important as eating healthy and being active. You are less prone to get sick, physically and emotionally. You don't let things run you down. You move on. As I lay in bed now, I realize that I don't know if my nightmares and night terrors will subside in time. I can't say for sure. I hope that the monster dies due to lack of attention and food. But, what I can do and what I can say definitively is that I will keep myself healthy and happy so that if and when they do happen, I can wipe the emotional residue off and go about my day, unlike this pig drool...
Today I worked with Faith. I think I will probably be working with her full-time. I ran into Alex and his girlfriend Michelle after breakfast. We were talking about the drive to Alaska, when I saw Faith carting a wheelbarrow up towards the composting work area. I knew she was about to feed the pigs and I wanted to join. I chased after her, thinking I could catch her and surprise her, but about the time I came within throwing distance, I huffed out her name and made her wait for me.
They plan to slaughter the pigs in a month. They are huge, and a little frightening when they are hungry. She explained the feeding process and a little of the composting process that David does. People on the island drop off yard waste and wood waste and he composts them and sells for profit. There are truckloads of compost passing the barn and heading up the road throughout the day.
I didn't really know what the plan was today, or if there was one, so I just made myself useful to Faith. I also don't know how to do anything or where anything is. We moved the electric fence from where the cows were grazing, to where they would be grazing. This meant that Faith rolled up the wire and I pulled out all the stakes and then reversed places and did it in opposite order. Make sense? It was interesting to learn about the knowledge one needs to have about grass in order to graze cows properly. Having them graze on grass when it is in a particular stage of growth is the key. It was also nice to stroll around the property. Faith says she likes that about this particular job, too.
I took a lunch and made some food in the outside kitchen for WWOOF'ers. I sat in the whicker chair, overlooking the pasture and read the book I got from the local library, while eating. It's called The Good Shufu. When I read the review that related it to Eat, Pray, Love “rewritten by Woody Allen,” I grabbed it and headed for the counter.
The rest of the day, we worked around the garden. We harvested tomatoes and baked them throughout the day in the leftover heat of the brick over used for the bakery. We weeded and rolled up some of the hoses for irrigation. The season is nearly over and everything is offering up the last of it's harvest. We collected cucumber, onions and peppers during that time and Lucy, the golden lab kept dropping her tennis ball in the dirt in front of me for me to throw it. After a while, the ball was a goopy, brown thing in my hand and I felt bad making her put it in her mouth.
Nikita had mentioned to me at Yoga class that the outhouse behind the studio needed some “TLC”. I figured since she was allowing me to take her class for no charge, the least I could do was to grant her whatever she wanted. So, I spent some time cleaning that.
I also fed the baby piglets...a lot. I hung out with them too, sprawled on the hay with Faith, we took a “pig break” and rubbed bellies and contemplated how to teach them not to bite hands. These two are special, and not like the ones by the compost. They are friendlier, smaller breeds and their young will be eaten, but not them. In farm world, this means they can be doted on, and oh, they are. I must have fed them 12 times today, and every time Faith would hand me something and say, “do you want to feed it to the piggies?” I took off running.
There was an older couple at the farm in the afternoon making apple cider. They brought over seven large tubs of apples from their yard and were using David and Faith's mechanical slicer/presser. Even with this, it took them all afternoon. Towards the end of the day, they flagged me down and offered me the very first cup from the apples. I have never had fresh apple juice like that. I can still taste it's crisp, fresh flavor spilling into my belly. I love this time of year.
I harvested my own fair share of apples today, as well. Faith went on a walk with some friends, and I set out with some produce boxes to collect apples and plums. They are dropping out of the trees faster than can be kept up with. I couldn't believe that fruit could be a nuisance. It reminded me of seeing bison being treated like squirrels in Canada. A lot of the apples were either rotten in some spots, or had been eaten by worms. But I still ended up with a large quantity. The plums were even more plentiful. Walking under the trees was like strolling through royal blue rose petals. I would hear the hard, fleshy smack of one every once in a while as it fell from the tree. Once, one hit me on my cheek as I reached up and it felt like a baby's thigh smacking me across my face.
I dropped the plums off at the house so that I could try and make something with them, later. I talked with the couple for a while about their choice of vehicle, a Toyota Previa. If you are unfamiliar, here one is. I want one so bad. They told me that most I would find now days are on their last leg, but theirs looked in perfect shape, as if it had just rolled off the lot. I told them how I wanted to build a living area in it and they agreed, “Yeah, that would work great!” I knew I loved this place.
Faith informed me that Kai, David's ex-wife that lives down the road was having a barbecue for their daughter, Vilina, who was going back to college in a few days. Vilina splits her time at both places and is coming in and out, full of life and humor. I like it when she is around and am sad she is leaving. Faith invited me to join and offered to bake a crisp to bring over with me.
I've never made a crisp before. But, I think I will be doing it again. Mostly, because it was immorally easy for it to taste that good. We added pears to the baking dish, along with the plums and combined butter, oats and brown sugar to sprinkle on top. We baked it for 45 minutes, until the fruit juice was bubbling and accompanied it with vanilla ice-cream. For a girl that can't cook. I felt pretty proud.
David and Faith grabbed a jar of the fresh apple cider and a bottle of rum. Kai called to ask if we could bring butter. The three of us all walked over together, Lucy trotting alongside, muddy tennis ball in her mouth.
Vilina and I sat by the fire, playing the guitar, singing and talking about how she came to learn music from this elderly hippie on the island. She taught me the chords G, A and D and I attempted to strum along. We cooked oysters and family friends arrived. They talked about locals by name and I was constantly wanting to inquire about these Steven's and Margo's and Salomon's. It's weird getting to know people through their loved ones. Everyone was interested in my story and how I came to be here.
The women, I've noticed are beautiful here. I have never met so many beautiful women in their 50's, 60's and older. I have no idea how they do it and I'm too afraid to ask, but I might just stay here in order to make sure it happens to me. We all sat down to dinner and conversation flowed freely. The food was fresh, local and amazing. Kai's house was gorgeous. I felt so lucky to be a guest at this party for Valina and to be accepted so warmly, no questions asked.
After dinner, Faith and David went home and a few of us stayed and talked around the table for a few hours. You know how occasionally, you feel out of place, or like you don't quite mold into the already established group? Not here. If someone had come upon us, they would have thought I was the daughter or sister of one of the people. I didn't want the night to end. I don't think I've ever gotten along so well and so instantaneously with a group of women. Valina, Margo and I are all in our twenties. Kai and Margo's aunt, Lori are amazing, confident, successful women. I felt so engaged and enthralled by everything everyone said. That sounds dramatic, but it's true. I am glad I got to meet them.
We talked about my journey and they looked at the website. I talked about my life growing up and where I came from. They kept asking questions and I kept answering when Kai, who was doing dishes, spun around and yelled, “You need to write a book!” Lori (Parker), who teaches screenplay writing, has produced films and helps writers turn their work into screenplays, chimed in, “And I'll help you turn it into a screenplay!” The fact that these women said they would be loyal readers if I wrote was a huge compliment.
After saying our goodbyes, Valina let me borrow a headlamp for my walk home. I misplaced mine somewhere in the car and have been using a reading light I found at the outside kitchen. Vilina said I would see her tomorrow before she left and we joked about how I am the only child now.
I honestly don't know how long I will stay here. David and Faith refuse to tell me when they want me to leave. I have an article I want to write and see about publishing before I go. I think if I can complete that goal and set a new one, which I already have in mind, I will feel comfortable heading out into something new.
Just thinking about it makes me sad. Tomorrow, I will be harvesting potatoes and working in the garden more, and hopefully taking a few “pig breaks”.
Hopefully I don't get murdered again, tonight.
Editors Note: The pig mucus was successfully washed off during a shower the following evening.