We have two days to finish the house as much as possible before an open house scheduled for Sunday afternoon, and tensions are beginning to run high on site. It’s been raining at night recently, and today it rained on and off all day. Thankfully the adobe-making is complete, but the redistribution of labor is leaving everyone on-edge and scrambling for a meaningful job. Put these factors together, and today’s (widely remarked-upon) collective mood on the site was one focused on getting through the day, rather than enjoying it. For most of the afternoon, I applied adobe inside, caught up in my own rainy thoughts
Thankfully, at one point my funk lifted just enough for me to realize how to cure it, and I begged my fellow interior-adobers for a charged phone to hook up to the boombox, and for a playlist of the Velvet Underground. In a true demonstration of community, Fiona came to the rescue, started us out with the unofficial build site anthem, “Our House” by Crosby Stills & Nash, and then let Lou Reed pull me up from the depths. By the time “Rock & Roll” finished, I was alright, even after someone asked to turn the volume down. I think the music helped everyone get through the last hours of the afternoon – it definitely helped me, and I’m very grateful that I was able to ask for, and receive, what I needed.
Still, despite the difficult days, it’s hard to believe how much progress we’ve made. 25 days ago, we started digging a foundation, and today we fitted in the back door and cleaned the windows. Spring has blossomed during our time here, and as the flowers and leaves have grown, so have our friendships and our confidence. None of us knew most of our classmates when we arrive here, and certainly none of us (except Joe) knew how to build a house. But we got up every morning, and ate together, worked together, shared our frustration, our hammers, our jokes, and our beer (among only those of us who are 21 or over, of course.) We have learned to depend on one another and learned how to be dependable. Everyone has become an expert in at least one thing, and we all know who to call for any specific task. Thanks to our trust in each other, our leadership, and ourselves, we’ve built something useful and beautiful – well, two things.
Soon, within days, we will hammer in the last nail, polish the last piece of wood, sweep the floor, and close the door of our building for the last time. It will be used and treasured for many years, but not by us. But we will take with us the other beautiful construction built during our time here at the BioStation – this new community and new embodied knowledge we all share. I will leave knowing that I helped build two things worth building, two necessary things – a beautiful, warm, sustainable shelter, and a beautiful, warm, sustainable network of relationships that I hope last just as long.
After all, I’ll be calling all of you up to help build my house one day, and I hope you’ll do the same. 😉