Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Into the Vortex, continued

….Woke up the next morning, 6am, for a 6:30 meeting (according to Awshucks) at the General Store, watering hole, company store, tourist attraction and headquarters of sorts. My Midwestern roommate, it turns out, isn’t such a straight shooter after all. The store was closed and I was fibbed to. The Quebecois is there, though, checking her emails and chatting with the manager and lets me in.

I meet the rest of the cast. An uberblonde behemoth of a guy asks me if I fight and if I would like to fight. In retrospect, having almost sustained crushed ribs from one of his overzealous hugs, a single punch would have been equivalent to the swipe of a paw from a grizzly: death, dismemberment, or a little of each.

There was a couple who were skateboarding, climbing would be organic farmers. The farm fell into their lap and they were struggling to balance their free spirited extreme lifestyle with the realities of farming—moving shit and dirt around to your best advantage every fucking day of your life. They grew more resentful and angry by the day, producing, in the single month that I knew them, enough greens to feed a one child family on a strict starvation diet for a lone meal.

This couple’s Appalachian Trail hike was verifiable and was done as a multi week trail run with five pound packs. It sounds implausible until you learn that they resupplied as needed from a supply bucket they mailed to themselves from town to town all the way north until they were stymied in Pittsfield by an injury. They made it from Georgia to Vermont, though, making incredible time, but the desire to live a life of adventure, even one peppered with feats of endurance, doesn’t translate well to the rewarding, but often stifling existence of an organic farmer.

Their minds drifted to other things, constructing climbing walls next to the greenhouse, or perhaps building a pump track amongst the tomato vines and mustard greens. Last time I heard they were neck deep in powder in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and loving life.

They were the last in the line of what I like to think of as the transient farmers. What I know about this era is hearsay, but reportedly there were farmers that were overwhelmed by paranoid delusions and driven away, farmers who succumbed to alcoholism, farmers who were actually on the track to being successful but happened to be shirtless at the moment a talent scout was taking a tour of the farm and signed up for a GQ photo spread.

The meeting eventually took place amongst the whole cast and Joe D himself and as would become a familiar routine, we spent ten minutes strategizing and the next twenty minutes listening to tales of Joe’s adventures, but that actually never grew tiring (To be continued…)

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