I don't even really know where to start with this one. From the beginning? Our first official meeting, in Brooklyn of all places, during the climate change march. Or when I came to the islands myself back in January? Just a concentrated winter dose of the island life I'm currently living. About three weeks ago seems best, when Milla (the woman who married a bear) graciously let me into her beautiful, non-minimal, and just the right amount of messy - home.
Since arriving, there have been backyard fires and fence building with fallen trees, morning coffee, and late-night dinners that end with all us in tears from laughter. We've made meals for each other and Milla has been like some sort of angel, welcoming me in to the community here, inviting me to events, and being a solid friend for picnics and beach outings, or our bi-monthly trip to the salmon seine.
But more than that, Milla has been the perfect personality to have around, she challenges me, and probably many, in just the right way - asking questions that most people wouldn't. Throughout our morning coffee and garden work, there have been quite a few intense conversations that have left me questioning my own actions and beliefs, or how my actions are lining up with my beliefs, all in a way that is somehow unoffensive - where I still loved and supported, and even thankful when it's over.
I remember one morning, sitting outside of the coffee shop, first sharing some of my hopeful plans for the future, and then being met with a discussion about how work and life should happen organically, how it doesn't make sense to have rigid plans -- or, in other words, challenging my natural mode of being - to have a solid and steady plan. And while I still will likely hold on to planning and scheming, after our conversation I realized how helpful it was for me to loosen my hold on those step-by-step visions, instead imagining my life and work to unfold as it does naturally.
And this has been a recurring theme in our discussions. We've gone everywhere from talking about lifestyle and lifestyle sharing, social media and the implications it brings, ecological decisions and where the environment is headed. She manages to knock me out of my more natural dreamlike state of being and into something a bit more real - taking me outside to work all the while. Carrying trees over our shoulders we talk about how good it feels to make something all on your own, without buying a single thing, sharing ideas for women's workshops and classes. Each of our talks, left me feeling accountable, that each of my actions matters, that they are noticed, and that maybe I should pay attention to them too.
And as I grow and learn on this island, I feel excited for the continuation of stimulating talks, laughter filled nights, and the further alignment of my actions and beliefs. I feel excited to continue getting to know these people and the land they live on. I've swapped out the old city morning sounds of car horns and blaring hip hop for eagle calls and rooster crows. I've learned that rural life isn't that quiet after all, it's filled with bird sounds and wind sounds and the very occasional rain. And I feel happy with my new companions, not only Milla and Charlie and the already so-supportive community, but also my new slug friends, the deer and fawn, the turkey vultures, eagles and hawks that soar overhead, seals, little sea anenomes, the chickens, and mostly Milla's cats Kettu and Keesa.