Today I went over to my boss's home to take a look at his backyard. We decided that on labor day weekend, we're going to bulldoze about a third of his third acre, and prepare it for food production. We are going to grow a garden, a garden that will feed us, and his family, and our co-workers, and the folks who pass through our little coffee kitchen. This is the first real step I have taken in trying to find a place here, a community. I'm going to actually start something in my hometown. I am not sure I've ever started anything here before.
It's exciting. There are so many possibilities. We are going to grow squash and herbs and beets and carrots and maybe some lettuces. We are going to locally source our compost. In the winter we're going to expand the garden and we're going to grow three varieties of kale (yes, you read correctly), and cauliflower and broccoli and more varieties of carrots and some brussel sprouts and spinach and lettuce and komatsuna and onions and garlic... oh, the list goes on and on. It's an experiment, like all gardens. And I'm particularly thrilled because this garden will integrate many parts of my life that have felt fractionated. I'll be growing food on property owned by my friend, who has invited me to participate in his church body, and that food will go to feed people at our place of work, the excess will go to friends and family and local food pantries, and I will be able to implement farming advice and techniques that I have learned and will continue to learn from Maya, my farmer friend and other "boss." Connectedness! It's all happening. Who would have thought that Arizona could be this place for me, a place where I could be grounded, where I could have a community and "belong?"
At this point, I cannot know whether or not this will be my home forever, but I cannot deny that Arizona is becoming my "place," for now. Roots are developing. It may be hot, almost unbearably so. The vast majority of the population may be raging conservatives. But there are glimmers of hope, these little communities that are increasing in numbers daily, that are forming a guerrilla movement of positive change. What a blessing it is to have found several of these communities already, and to feel invited to engage with them, to become a part of what they are doing and how they are living. It is still lonely here, but I feel that beginning to change. I am finding solace in afternoons spent in books, evenings with my family, occasional dates with old friends, and opportunities to make even more.