By Carriage and On Foot

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Been reading Johannes Itten’s “Art of Color.” In the introduction Itten says, “Learning from books and teachers is like traveling by carriage, so we are told in the Veda. The thought goes on, ‘But the carriage will serve only while one is on the highroad. He who reaches the end of the highroad will leave the carriage and walk on foot.’” I think he means that you must learn the fundamentals first. Then you can venture out on your own. He’s talking about art, color specifically, and the Veda is talking about life. You learn from your elders, your teachers before you can strike out and carve your own path. You learn how to survive before you enter the jungle. Learn to swim before jumping in the deep end.

So I came across this quote just at the right time. My purpose right now is to learn. From books, from people, from my observations of the surrounding world. By carriage and on foot.

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I’m currently in Abingdon, VA. I’m WWOOFing on a small organic farm owned by Anthony and Laurel Flaccavento. For those unfamiliar with WWOOF, it’s a way for farmers to connect with people who are interested in working on organic farms/learning about organic farming. Essentially, WWOOFers work on the farm for an agreed upon time period in exchange for room, board, and a learning experience.

I picked a good farm. Anthony and Laurel are both a wealth of knowledge on all things organic and edible and sustainable, and fortunately for me, they are very generous when it comes to sharing this knowledge. They are also generous with their food. I’ve been eating spinach and lettuce straight from the garden, canned tomatoes from last summer, and eggs and beef from neighboring farms.

I’m feeling inspired and energetic. I think this is due to a well-balanced combination of physical labor, solitude, and room & board. In my free time, I’ve been listening to public radio, exploring town, and reading (hence the Johannes Itten discovery.) Productive time:

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High tunnel, hoop houses, and fields at Abingdon Organics.

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Some seedlings in the greenhouse.

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Today’s work: three rows of cauliflower, several varieties including Cheddar (which is bright orange) and Graffiti (bright purple cauliflower)

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Also done today: One row of lettuce. I’m beginning to understand the meaning of “back-breaking work.” I think I need to scope out the local yoga studio tonight…

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