Saturday, April. 25, 9:09 PM
Sahdana Forest, Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India
I’ve stepped into another world, again, and I’m reeling anew with the possibilities. I don’t even know where to start. For the last week I’ve been living and working in a community called Sadhana Forest, a reforestation project, an experiment in permaculture and sustainability, a place where “forests grow people”.
This community is also a sub-community of Auroville, a pretty interesting concept city in southwestern India. Honestly, though, I haven’t even left the forest yet, except a couple times at night to 1) eat pizza and 2) attend a reggae concert. So i haven’t seen the crazy golden orb meditation place or met any of these odd-sounding Aurovillians (card-carrying community members).
This is the first time on this entire journey that I have wifi, but the power runs on a solar system which is mostly always OFF, so I’m not typing regularly as battery is more precious than bandwidth. But it’s a freakin sweet connection, hence all my photo uploads lately. Only thing I’m not up to date with is all the blogs I’ve wanted to write in the alst couple weeks. (There are so many: Munnar was Good, Jamey WannaBeAnAuroVillian, Stirring Poo and Spirulina… the list is endless.)
This place is good shit, for countless reasons. I’ve learned so much in a week, and staying longer can only make this model of sustainability impress more deeply on me. We cook vegan, plant trees, build cool projects and experiments out of natural materials (like a spirulina pond and an earth-dome), use dry (composting) toilets and only biodegradable products, swim in the local mud ponds, have mens (and women’s) circles, workshops, movie nights, play with (always naked) kids my nephews would love it here, live in cool-ass huts (made completely of natural materials: grass, bamboo, coconut fiber)… it’s so fun!
Jamey fell in love with the whole scene instantly, and wants to stay for a long time, as he also sees an opportunity to seize responsibility (with the founding family leaving in a week for some months), which is cool but also gives me a unique opportunity to pursue a new path, as he’s essentially suspending his bike tour until further notice (3-6 months is the guess).
I feel aglow at this point in my life, and I’m happy just where I am, on a big and small scale. This trip, this path, this perpetual unknown, and this farm… I’m content to be stationary for the moment. There’s much to learn here (and of course many adventures on this side of the sub-continent), so I’m willing to take it day by day, see how Sadhana goes, in lieu of hopping onto a plane next week to New Zealand, as was our most recent plan. That said, I’m not ready to stop either. I’m thrilled to have found a feel-good, incredibly cheap, and quality place where I’m both comfortable and excited, that also poses longer-term possibilities (welcoming stays of any length). It’s fun to look at places as potential locations to set-up a turtle pond… at least now I’ve found one. Now, with an example in mind, perhaps it’ll be easier to seek out other such communities. They have a 3-year training program here (for free, a kind of scholarship program), to learn it all in order to set-up villages and forests all over (next stop, Senegal)… and even though I like the project I’m not sure it’s MY life path (although living in such a place sooner or later in life would be very nice.) In other words, it’s inspiring… and it only makes me want to continue exploring the possibilities, in and outside of the forest, with greater appetite.
For now (and even for next week), I don’t know what’ll happen. Amy hasn’t even arrived yet, and when she does we can decide to stay, to move on together, or perhaps something entirely different altogether.
Tonight’s musical selection: Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion I & II