On the Road, West Coast Trip 2018, Day 2: The Body — of Me, of Us, of Earth

Day two got going way before dawn, since I was still internally on east coast time. However, because I went to bed at 7 p.m. PDT, I was fine with rising at 4:00 A.M. and getting right to my daily practices — yoga, chikung and taichi. And then I sat down to write the Day One post, not really knowing I was going to do that until I did it. Now there’s the danger that I have laid in expectations for both myself and you, dear readers!

But Day 2 did offer some interesting observations. First, my body: even before leaving the hotel room I had spilled water twice (once hot, forgetting to put the cup under the machine that heats it), then I spilled the concoction I had heated up with water (an ayurvedic “golden melk” mix that I had bought on Day One at the Convergence; it has turmeric in it, so yes, very staining to the washcloth that I used to mop it up), and one more spill — the cup of coffee I had made from an organic coffee box I had brought, thinking it would be packets, and it turned out to be those drat keurig cups. I had mixed that coffee with the hot water, and the result was a sort of sludge on top, which I then put on the table on the side of the bed and was getting up on the bed to watch Fox News (amazing, that I can now watch Fox News; the only time I’ve ever watched TV was in motel rooms, but Fox News was my last choice; now it’s my only MSM choice, though still pretty bad) . . . when I moved a pillow and its edge caught the sludgy coffee and sent it sailing to the floor, staining  pillow, bed sheet, and carpet.

That washcloth got another workout, and this time the yellow stain was peppered with tiny coffee bits that refused to come out.

Gee! And I had thought I was centered and balanced, after my rough but successful Day 1 as Spiderwoman, and after a good night’s sleep!

So then, at 8:30, I got in the car to go to the Convergence, but was a bit early for my talk at 9:30, so decided to stop at a cafe in Hopland. Got out of my car, started to climb the step to the cafe, and tripped, hard (not noticing the second step), and fell, hard, but luckily, all my taichi and chikung has somehow made my body highly aware of all parts of itself all the time so the fall down was cushioned just so, with wrists and knees taking the brunt, but evenly divided. I lay there on my back just feeling all my parts for a few minutes, testing to see that every limb still worked, and yes they did, and then came the looming concerned face of an obese man who held his hand out for me to grasp and I did. He hauled me up. I walked shakily, ahead of him, into the cafe, where everybody else was now looking at me, concerned, into the bathroom, to wash off the abrasion on my right elbow and wrap with toilet paper.

Okay, so the stage was set for my presentation. I was not in good shape, apparently. My body was definitely out of kilter with its environment.

The presentation itself went as well as could be expected, given that all but three of the dozen or so people that showed up for this early morning event came one half hour late for a one hour show. But we had started late anyway, to give them time to arrive, if they wanted to. And somebody filmed most of it. And I did get through most of the 144 slides, and certainly everybody there got the gist of what we are doing at the GAPV. One woman, Yanna, who had showed up on time, and who I got to talk to at length, was terrific. She has just returned to California from 20 years in New York, where she had both spent time becoming a “viticulturist” (making wine) in the northern part of that state, and then also in NYC, where she had done some kind of sustainability work that took her to, I think it was, Micronesia, and discovered an ancient way of life that lived in harmony with the land. She figured that “some white man must have found out what they had been doing for all these thousands of years and brought it to the attention of contemporary culture,” and looked around, and yes, found the work of Bill Mollison, one of the two recognized co-founders of what we call “permaculture.” She then took an 18-month on-line course with Jeff Lawton, and came back to California to see if she could persuade organic viticulturists to adopt some of the practices of permaculture.

Wow! Some story, and that wasn’t the half of it. All day long, as I would meet people, each one had some sort of amazing tale to tell, especially the older ones, their own life story, how they ended up at this convergence; California is of course hopping with especially young permies, and with those who are connecting permies together, creating and nourishing “resiliency hubs” (like ours!),  networking various siloed projects, and scaling up. One can feel the initial thrums of the heartbeat of a new decentralized, connected, resilient way of life rising from the ruins of the old capitalist model that is crashing against limits — both the limits of humans who have forgotten their connection with own bodies, with each other, and with the land beneath their feet, and with the resource limits of this beloved finite planet.

Oh, and there’s a new podcast coming in two weeks, called TheResponsePodcast.org, a “podcast documentary series that explores how communities come together in the aftermath of disaster.” As the man who explained it said, “In its coverage of disasters, mainstream media features victims, those who are a threat, and heroes. That’s all. It doesn’t talk about the innumerable small acts of generosity that disasters inspire. For example, in the stadium during Katrina, despite what mainstream media said about it, actually people inside there were mostly wonderful to and with each other.” This podcast series will feature stories from those who have survived collective emergencies, and who helped each other get through them.

I picked up one piece of literature from a person who was, I thought, going to present in the yurt at 2 p.m. (he had helped me set up for mine there), but then the schedule had apparently changed, and he, Forest Berg, of Green Earth City, was no longer the presenter. I never did see a notice of where his talk had been moved. It had really caught my eye, because of the literature he handed me, existing and new types of land ownership for intentional communities, including co-operative ownership, akin to Mondragon.  At least I have the hand-out and will study it.

Much more from yesterday, especially personal stories, so much going on, all up and down the coast and inland. So much going on at this Convergence too, often confusing but fully, deeply alive. A few shots from Day Two:

I’m told that this strange concoction will end up as a TURTLE. Will document its progress.


An impassioned panel discussion featuring mostly Native Americans. Young woman: “This world teaches us to hate ourselves and each other. What does it mean to open up your heart?” Elder woman: “If you want to help us, then join our family.”

This beautful young couple has been together five years already; they live in a remote mountain cabin. They remind me of elves!

When I said to this sweet man, about his art, that it’s sorta dark, he said, yes, that’s what my teacher told me. The triangles on the bottom are made out of flags and oil, shellacked. His response to the Gulf Oil disaster.


This hilarious and impassioned young woman, here doing muscle-testing, was selling bracelets that supposedly, for me, will within three days, reduce my tremor 25 to 60%. We’ll see! Money-back guarantee. There’s no doubt that my spilling things is in part related to the tremor, since things at times seem to fly out of my hand.

Terrific band. Couldnt’ help but dance, at the bioregional hub gathering.

Sun starting to set. Time to go back to Ukiah.

Aha! Cultivating Zone Zero in the Garden. That’s for me, one hour from now.

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