With the end of the Holistic Sustainability Semester program, many of the students left and went on their own separate journeys, and a handful of us stayed. I made the decision to stay and pursue residency to see community from a different perspective while serving as the marketing manager/outreach coordinator, and for the opportunity to practice permaculture and community building.
Saying goodbye to the other students wasn’t easy, as most of us became good friends having bonded through the program and extra-curricular adventures. And as they left, the community decreased in size and some of the energy left with them too. But that didn’t stop me from going head-first into this new chapter of life!
One of the first things I did was take charge of the forgotten Lodge community whiteboard, updating it with birthdays, workshops, special events and ecstatic dances. Everyone really appreciated this because it helped let the community know what was going on week by week, and built more community cohesion with everyone being ‘in the known’.
We also continued our community pizza-making dinners, which were still lead by Rich while he was staying temporarily at Lost Valley. But another seasonal resident, Conrad, who was in transition while learning primitive skills at various wilderness schools, helped start pizza days with hand-made friction fires!
As the month was coming to an end, and I was getting into a residential routine, we had a group of former Lost Valley apprentices from years ago come out to harvest willow for basketry. I was very interested in helping because I wanted to know more about willow and how to use it. We spent a day coppicing and pollarding willow in various gardens and around the solar shower – because if it was left to grow and mature, it wouldn’t be suited for basketry and eventually grow intertwined, high out of reach for usable materials. Our exchange for their labor was they could have all the willow suited for basketry weaving, and Lost Valley kept the remaining willow.