Saturday – a visit to Tryon Life Community Farm
1.5 hr – biking there; a lot of deep inhalation and rapid exhalation
7 hrs – at Tryon Life in a cycle between community and solitude
I accidentally chose a treacherous route up a very steep road with lots of cars and no shoulder. Once I got there, I was welcomed warmly by a beautiful group of people laughing and singing. After being there for a half an hour, I was asked to leave the area – I could be in the garden, but the person whose party was being held there had asked, through a community member that I leave this private party. To be honest, this was probably the hardest thing on my journey so far.
I chose, as this community member was asking me to go somewhere else, the path of vulnerability. I was able to express with words, through my tears, that I was confused and that what was really important to me in that moment was connection and acceptance. After hearing this, the community member softened, and offered to join me in the garden for a while. What, to me, seemed like rejection, hurt really deeply, and throughout the rest of the day I found myself worked into tears by little things. And, simultaneously, felt so held by this community. Each person that I expressed my pain to made space for me, as I was, which I am so deeply grateful for.
After returning to Portland that evening, I felt so cleansed and light from my experience. I also learned something I need to keep in mind as I continue visiting places – a) communities are navigating the boundary between public and private and b) I need to make a point to become aware of communities’ structures, rules and boundaries as I enter. So far, these include dress code, meditation practice, housing situation, pronouns, or the membrane between private and public events and property.
Sunday – Portland to Salem
8 hrs – cycling, using energy and refueling
3.5 hrs – expressing and listening
1 hr – reading and writing, consuming and creating
I stayed in Salem with a friend of a dear friend from high school. She happened to be hosting a couch surfing couple from New Zealand (where I spent two months a year and a half ago) on the same night! It was so wonderful to hear their accents and to talk about New Zealand, and food and vocabulary. They fed the whole house a wonderful dinner, it was heaps of fun!
Monday – Salem to Corvallis
3 hrs – cycling, getting warm, going fast!
3 hrs – cooling down, slowing down
5 hrs – reconnecting and connecting
A super short day of biking, with the wind at my back! It went so fast, and then I went to one of my favorite spots on Mary’s River – a sweet tree hangs over the river, with some lovely ropes attached to it! Needless to say, and despite the cold water, I went for a nice swim. Not a long one. I also visited the Organic Growers Club Farm near Oregon State University, a lucky coincidence that they were having their annual Hoo Haa event! Dinner and free face painting for all!
Tuesday – Corvallis to Cottage Grove- 65 miles!
6 hrs – in the seat
1.5 hrs – giving my poor butt a break
3 hrs – reconnecting 🙂 and refueling
I decided to make it a long day, since the wind was still at my back, and I was feeling so good, and had a place I knew I could stay in Cottage Grove with a friend’s wonderful parents 🙂
Wednesday – Cottage Grove to Oakland Oregon
5 hours – cycling between movement and stillness
1 hour – a bath! In a claw foot tub! SO. GOOD.
5 hours – talking about cycling, routes, gardening, places I could visit… and eating some pizza
35 miles of up and down and up and down and some gravel; an exciting, beautiful, short day! I stayed with this sweet couple that I found on Warm Showers (couch surfing for cyclists). The cyclist of the household recommended some routes which have been really excellent so far, which have kept me off of I-5 for all but 4 miles 🙂 Karolyn and Wayne recommended a little organic shop and meditation center called Lighthouse Center Oregon to me.
Thursday – Riding Oakland to Lighthouse Center
2 hours – excited cycling!
2 hours – in stillness, at the shop, waiting to see if they could accommodate me
4 hour – settling in, sharing lunch with the community, connecting –
2 hours – My first stop where I got to pull weeds! And we talked a little about the form of meditation the community practices.
It was so sweet to be welcomed into this community on such short notice. They all were so genuine, and excited to meet me and hear all about what I’m doing, and I was so inspired to hear what they are doing. They have a bakery, café, and shop (mostly bulk items) where they sell bread they bake in a crazy awesome cobb oven they created, sell produce that they grow, create beautiful, nourishing, vegetarian food, and delight all that enter with warmth.
Friday – A day at Lighthouse Center Oregon!
6 hours – in the garden and greenhouse
2 hours – fueling up
4 hours – in the cycle of communication – listening and expressing
After such a wonderful experience Thursday, I wanted to spend another day, and so I did! I got to work more in the garden – they have two very large hoop houses that are side by side, creating probably half an acre of indoor space. We planted peas and beans, I harvested nasturtium leaves, and we planted a bunch of different varieties of flowers outside.
I found these people to be so loving and gentle and open. I shared many touching moments of vulnerability, trust, and generosity.
Saturday – Leaving Lighthouse
8 hours – cycling –
2 hours – finding a place to camp, making camp, filtering water, making food, bundling up for the night
I was biking a little against the wind towards the end of the day, and didn’t get as far as I was aiming for, but found a sweet little camping spot right on Cow Creek – I got to sleep on sand, which I think is my most comfortable night camping so far 🙂 Sand camping is a different game – you know those little square games where you make a picture or put numbers in order by moving pieces around to the one open space? It felt like I had to do that with all my stuff to keep from getting sand in everything.
Sunday – Arrival in Wolf Creek
3 hours – gathering, organizing, re-organizing, disorganizing
2 hours – reading, writing – receiving, expressing
6 hours – cycling
Another day when I was planning on making it further… This time it wasn’t energy or wind that stopped me though. I got to Wolf Creek, and went into the Inn there to see if I could charge my phone which had died earlier, and they welcomed me in, and let me play their piano 🙂 yay! And when I asked if they had any recommendations for places for me to camp that night, the innkeeper just handed me a key to a room, and said that I could have breakfast in the morning. Of course I said yes – not only was there a bed, and food for me, there was also the amazing invention that I no longer take for granted – a shower.