Saturday, March 22, 2014


Yesterday was the Vernal Equinox, when days and nights are of equal length. Soon, summer days will stretch out wide and bright here in central Washington... but for now, the paths between buildings are all slushy ice and mud puddles. A little more snow fell yesterday, which made us laugh and roll our eyes: Springtime. What a card.

Does this qualify as mud-luscious?

The first day of spring is a fine time for spring cleaning. Yesterday I met up with a local pastor with a knack for organizing, and the two of us turned a storage room inside out, filling trash bags, consolidating containers, and taking armloads of miscellany to more sensible locations.

"You like organizing things," she remarked.

"I like organizing other people's things," I clarified. "Not my own."

That's good enough to get me through this project. Any retreat center will accumulate clutter, but a rural artists' community like the Grünewald Guild generates it at an alarming rate. There are closets and cupboards and basements full of all kinds of art supplies. Some of them look deceptively like trash: broken glass, scraps of colored paper, half-empty paint tubes. Meanwhile, abandoned creations lurk around every corner, pots and weavings and sculptures left behind by the generous or the forgetful. That's why I needed the pastor: because she knew which things weren't trash. (In one area of the community, anyway. Other areas will require input from other experts.)

These are important supplies for dyeing fabric. Not trash.
In the summer, when this place is buzzing with art classes, well-meaning students and teachers will undo much of the work we did today. But for now, one more area is tamed, tidied, and ready to welcome them.

I don't like organizing my own things because it seems like every object is a reminder of something I failed to finish or follow up on. But other people's things, or communal things, are free of that kind of baggage, and there's an exploratory aspect to it that draws me in: What's in this vintage cookie tin? What's under that pile of fabric? How far back do the yogurt tubs go? So that's where all the hammers went!

The screened porch is where a lot of things went... but not the hammers.

It was with a similar sense of exploration that I signed on to Facebook earlier this week for the first time, ever. I'd been ignoring friends' pleas and demands to join for many years. I was already satisfied with my internet experience. What did I need Facebook for? Well, I found some reasons.

Springtime on the Wenatchee River ain't all bad.
For those of you who are visiting this blog for the first time, here's the truth of the matter: I recently completed an amazing two-year road trip. I visited intentional communities around the country: communes and monasteries, housing co-ops and ecovillages, from LA to DC and from Atlanta to North Dakota. It was a life-changing, world-opening journey, and now I'm writing a book about it, which I hope to self-publish next year. So I joined Facebook to let you know about my book. I think it's a story worth telling, and I'm hoping you'll think it's a story worth reading.

Besides, the more people who are expecting a book, the more motivation I have to work on it, right? I'll need that motivation even more now that I'm the Volunteer and Hospitality Coordinator for the Grünewald Guild. The job isn't rocket science (as evidenced by the paycheck), but it does have a lot of facets to get my head around, a lot of deep dark corners full of cobwebs, and a lot of potential for improving things. Like any good new job (or adventure), it's exhilarating and terrifying at the same time, and has a tendency to be all-consuming. So while Facebook is (of course!) a distraction, it's also the opposite: a reminder of my goals.

I'll be linking to my blog posts on Facebook, so if you want to keep up with me, that's one way to do so. I also share them to Google Plus. If you'd like more immediate notification, you can use the "Follow by Email" box on the right to get copies of them in your inbox.

Grünewald Guild artists in residence on their way to dinner.
And for those of you who are not visiting this blog for the first time: Thank you, loyal friends! I'm very, very glad you're still around.


  1. Lindsey!

    Thank you for joining FB and posting your blog. I had been following your journey but somewhere along the way lost the link and couldn't for the life of me remember how to find you again. I'm excited to go back and pick up your journey where I left off and get caught up!

    Hello friend! It is so good to see you again.


    1. Hello, friend - hooray! It's good to see you, too. Thank you so much for reading!

  2. As it appears you are my neighbor, I would love to have tea or coffee with you. What an incredible journey you have been on, and one we could all learn from.
    Thank you for joining FB and sharing with all of us.

    1. Whoa, no way! Yes, let's do that! I'll be in touch.

  3. I am sure it will be fascinating to read your book. I am intrigued by your decision to self-publish. The traditional publishing/indie author question is one I have been considering, as I am finally making serious progress on my book. I would love to talk about that sometime-as well as about writing itself.

    1. Katy, so glad to hear about the progress you're making! Yes, we should talk soon. I have questions about another topic we have in common, too. :)

  4. Hi, Lindsey! So happy to see that you are alive and well--and writing. I'll look forward to following your journey.

    1. Thank you, Gary! Wow, when your English prof expresses an interest in your post-college writing, you must be doing something right. [fistpump] Yessss! :)

  5. Looking forward to reading about your discoveries. Love you...