When I hear the word farm, there are certain images and ideas that immediately rush forward. I think back to my time driving through Iowa and the vast fields of corn or soya. I think of my friend’s place in Nebraska with the rusted but running John Deere machinery and large barn. Or the place where my brother worked, with thousands of cows and sterile machinery. I also think about the tiered fields in Nepal, painstakingly cut out of the earth to create flat planting surfaces.
Sacred Suenos is none of the above. Instead, the farm is gently carved out of the mountainside and there is no obvious division between mountain and farm. The garden beds are small and diverse, paths are narrow and steep. There’s no machinery to turn the earth beyond the chickens, and no wide open spaces. From a distance, you may be able to spot the trees planted to break the wind or maybe the roof of the dorm but that is all.
Likewise, we residents live very closely to the land. While supplies are brought up every week, all trash is composted in one way or another, including human waste. The day pretty much begins when the sun rises and ends with the sun sets twelve hours later (my body loves this schedule and thinks 8pm is a great time to head to bed). The only electricity is supplied by a few solar panels, enough to power a small stereo system to play our smart phones on. The farm is producing enough that we were harvesting beans and berries everyday, eggs too. Then there was lettuce and kale too.
I learned permaculture is a very big word, encompassing many ideas that I am familiar with in other contexts but now see within a larger picture. Composting toilets, buying local, living simply, off the grid.
I spent the three weeks in my own cabin, a small adobe house off to the side of the farm. I expected the unfamiliarity of the surroundings, the noises, and the dark to create all sorts of anxieties in my city heart but instead found myself at home. I realized that this was the environment I was created for and that warmed my heart. Waking up in the middle of the night began to be a treasure rather than a chore. One night the milky way was in full view, another, I watched as the almost full moon set in the cloudless sky.