Tuesday, April 21, 2009

a hundred chances

He walks abreast with his days and feels no shame in not 'studying a profession', for he does not postpone his life, but lives already. He has not one chance, but a hundred chances...

Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for.

--Emerson, from Self-Reliance

After countless interviews, emails, phone calls, after dressing up and dressing down, trial days and trial weekends, after smiling politely and saying what wants to be heard and nodding in agreement, I still have not found employment. Again, it's back to my ever faithful Plan B. This plan sits and waits while I attempt to swim against the current of my own desires. It watches me with a knowing eye, letting time pass until I come back to it, drenched and tired and begging to be part of it again. What is Plan B? It is adventure, learning, excitement, growth, change. Mostly, it is beauty - I lust after it, photograph it, write about it and revel in it; I go where I can find beauty and then I keep on searching.

More concretely: my new plan is to travel the country, my own country this time, working on organic farms and seeing the sights as we travel between farms. We are going through this organization called WWOOF (worldwide opportunities on organic farms), which provides a list of farms (most of them small-scale family gardens, not industrial agriculture), that allow you to come and work for them for 5 hours a day, 5 days a week in return for room and delicious, fresh organic board. We get to pick the farms, which list their location, the type of work to be done, and housing provided. We want to learn as much as we can about small-scale farming - from vegetable plots to animal husbandry to building fences and houses to preparing animal products. How exactly is butter made? How do you grow grapes or tomatoes or potatoes? Where does the water come from? How do you make mozzarella cheese? How little labor can be put into farming? Do we need gigantic machines to make this work? Do you know the answer to these questions? I don't, but I will.

The medium-term plan is still to get to grad school in the Fall of 2010, and this is a way to be able to focus on applications while quenching our desire to learn and travel in the meantime.

Again, I will be blogging as I go along. I will probably be creating a new blog that Alex and I will both contribute to that is specific to the things we are learning while farming, and will keep this one for my own thoughts and responses.

On the road, again!

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