The Farmer and the Monk

Being here always makes me a bit uneasy, especially since the last time.  Somehow it’s already been almost three months, and now I’m back here again, except this time heading somewhere I have never gone before.

It’s important to me to keep seeing more of the world, to continuously remind myself that there are beautiful, and I mean really, really beautiful, things that I’ve never seen before. There are still colors in nature I have never seen before, or certain angles of light, or fruits and flowers and faces…and who knows what that can do for the human being.

These last weeks in Urbana have been a capital F, U, and N.  Ethan came back home for two weeks, he only has September before he moves out to Seattle to begin Les Miserable for four months.  When I was in Europe Ethan had sent me an e-mail saying he was flying out there for an audition, a long shot possible gig for the fall, and it happened, because he went for it and believed in himself.

We tried to keep things as normal as possible with Ethan around, the three of us working at the cafe on the daily, that is, Nick, Sarah, and I. One of us is usually scuffling around the kitchen by 5:30 in the am to open the cafe, another by 6:30 to make food for the masses, and unless one of us has the day off, we’re all in there by noon, pulling, and pouring, and steaming, and sipping, and chopping, and baking.  Sandwich, salad, fruit cup, parfait, espresso, zucchini bread, cappuccino, soy milk, please.  While we work, Ethan temporarily works on a farm up the road, and Nora goes to class or the engineering lab she works in.  She usually spends a good portion of her day in the cafe until one of us gets off, then we bobble on our bikes for afternoon potpourri on the porch, then evening yoga in the yard.  We’re still working on the Chakras, we’re working on four and five, heart and throat, love and voice.  Our yard yogas are averaging nine people a session, four times a week now, usually  followed by more porch time, a cooking of a late, light healthy dinner, a playing of games, a doing of homework, a writing of books, a singing of songs, whatever we want really, until each of our fires for the day fizzles out.

A couple of weeks ago I met with Asher’s mom for coffee on their back porch and she recommended I meet a man that also has a show at the same radio station as my mom and I.  He calls himself the Priarie Monk and he devotes his life to saving the prairie.  It turns out prairies are the most endangered ecosystem on the planet, we will miss them when they are gone, the home to all those bees, butterflies, dragonflies, and flies.  I e-mailed the guy and asked if we could help him out in any way, not really knowing or caring too much about prairies before but knowing this sounded important and interesting and something I’d never seen or done before.  Ethan, my mom and I drove out to a nearby prairie with the monk last week to pick seeds, seeds that are sent out of state to be preserved until they can be replanted in a safe environment.  The Prairie Monk proved a safe environment can be anywhere, he created a “pocket prairie” across from the WEFT station, a little ecosystem nestled between a bar and a major intersection.  They can grow anywhere, humans just have to stop mowing them down.  So we drove out to a patch of land just along the highway and we picked collected seeds off of flowers so that little Ethans and Hollys don’t have to worry so much in the coming times.

This time last year Ethan and I were just getting settled in, my mom too.  Life was very different now than it was a year ago, it’s really filled in and developed, and for that, it’s better than the good old days. The good old days were the days of tomato picking for the local farmer’s market, and rotten tomato fights at “Seldom Home Farms”.  There was a time Ethan pegged me square in the back with the smelliest tomato of the lot, then insisted on spending an hour at a garage sale on the drizzly drive home.   I smelled so bad I was nearly making myself sick, I couldn’t care less about the boxes upon boxes of LP’s I forced myself to flip through just to get my mind of the nauseating stench.  We were still harnessing our passions then, we dreamed of having a little urban farm, we were both working at the coffee shop.  Nothing has changed in that last regard for me, I still love being a barista, but now I can add /aspiring writer/baker to my occupation, and the little farm is up and running with three new colors of the rainbow keeping the place lit up.  It’s nice to be back where I started, at least physically.  It’s nice to build upon where I left off, to leave something idle for a bit, then come back to it refreshed.  Full circle.

I guess that explains my unease as we sat in the sky portal.  My love for my home and my life has become so well rounded.  Since writing those words I’ve flown through the clouds and seen the sun rise from above and the lotus and the bee have touched down on the other side.  It’s important to nurture and stretch roots, but it’s important to keep flying too, at least for me.  You never know what you might find.

“And alas, this moment of love.  For life, people, and universal energy.  My mind cannot keep up with the constant surprises the universe brings. “ -Ethan’s journal entry from last fall

Costa Rica, estamos aqui.

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