Acorn - journal entries

9/23 - Saturday
My welcome at Acorn was pretty informal. I was introduced to Erik, who had already given a group tour earlier in the day and was visibly worn out. He showed me my room and gave a quick orientation on the essentials - bathrooms, snack kitchen, offices, business meeting on Sundays, a heart-share meeting for working out interpersonal conflicts on Thursdays. He gave me a list of “cultural warnings” about things at Acorn which some find shocking. The list included things like it’s a clothing-optional community and it’s dirty or messy or sometimes dirty and messy. Immediately after he’d given the list, I forgot all of them, having experienced everything that he listed at one communities already. Acorn is still on-grid for power. Their water comes from a well or a spring - something local and renewable. There is one composting toilet, but it doesn’t seem to get much use since there are 2 regular flush toilets in the bathrooms. There are no solar showers yet.

9/24 - Sunday
Ken gave me a tour of the gardens this morning - they have about 3 acres under cultivation (quite a lot for a community of this size). Most of it is for the seed business, but some of that produce can serve dual purpose. Isolation of crops becomes an issue when growing for seed, to ensure that there’s no cross-polination. I did some sweeping this morning, then cleaned and reorganized the pantry. There was supposed to be a weekly business meeting tonight after dinner, but it didn’t happen. The food I’m eating is mostly organic and pretty much vegan (some dairy), though the desserts don’t skimp on the sugar. One thing that’s struck me so far is that people don’t talk much at the meals. It seems like it might be more difficult to connect/make friends here. I’ve had plenty of time to spend on the internet - they have wifi in the main building (called Heartwood) and grid power. We had a storm today, so it went out for a while (satellite internet). I feel a yearning for more connection. Maybe I’ll spend some time out in nature tomorrow.

9/25 - Monday
woke up feeling crappy - had a bad taste in my mouth - every time I burp I taste rotten eggs (is that bile?). ate some lunch anyway, hoping it might flush whatever it was out. just made me feel worse - by mid-afternoon I felt shitty. had diarrhea most of the day. ate a piece of dry toast for dinner. drunk lots of water and herbal tea (oat straw, chamomile, some mint), and then, after dinner, I heard someone say that lots of people get sick (stomach bug) when they first get here. hopefully it’ll either be gone tomorrow or the next day. did laundry today, packed some bulbs and helped prep peppers for storage. I’m taking the down-time as an opporunity to read The Watchmen - Alan Moore’s famous graphic novel. I took a walk out to the end of the property today - it was fairly uneventful.

9/26 - Tuesday
Felt better today. The stomach bug appears to have been a 24-hour thing as promised. The toast I had for breakfast settled in okay, so I had a real lunch and dinner. Lunch was just leftovers, but dinner was a scrumptious chinese feast! There was a cabbage/tofu stir-fry, fried rice, and broccoli in a yummy brown sauce. The “snack kitchen” has tons of bread - bagels, loaves, etc. I’m eating lots more white flour and sugar here than I usually do, and I’m doing more work in the office (shipping bulbs, etc). Hopefully I won’t start gaining weight. One of the members here, a young mother, said that she really liked being pregnant, and really liked giving birth - she’d love to grow and have children for other couples (with their egg & sperm) - a womb-for-rent so-to-speak. I want to talk to her more about that.

9/27 - Wednesday
Felt great today. Did some digging in the garden for potatoes - we probably filled ten 5-gallon buckets with them. Shipped some more bulbs (onions and garlic) for the seed business.

9/30 - Saturday morning
slept in - until 1pm - totally didn’t realize I was sleeping that long, but I guess I needed it.
The Seed business here has the feeling to me of a family business - like Quinn’s idea of a tribal business.

10/02 - Monday morning
Whatever sickness I had has been going around - several people have had stomach troubles now. I’ve been pretty congested the past several days - not green, so no infection, but I can’t tell if it’s just allergies or what. Not a huge inconvenience, just means I’m blowing my nose a lot. Last night, one of the Acorn members put on a “fancy” meal with lots of lucious Indian food - all vegan, of course; we dressed up and played a talking game at dinner. The question to answer was “what is the best thing that’s happened to you today/this week?” For me, it was that meal.

Monday night
I got to see a business meeting tonight. There are only 4 full members, and another 2 on the membership track, so the meetings have more of a family/house meeting feeling than a community/consensus feeling. That is, the process is a lot more informal with people going through the list of things to discuss and people saying their pieces. In more consensus-focused communities, they will usually have a facilitator who goes through a more formal process of asking for criticism, suggestions, supporting comments, etc. to make sure that everyone has their say. With the way decisions are made and things are run around here, it feels a lot like a family business with a big, extended family.
I’ve spent lots of time online here, compared with other communities. The guests are introverted and the members are busy. I’m still not connecting much, but that may improve. It’s very laid back here - everyone makes their own schedules. The commune idea seems nice.

10/3 - Tuesday
Feeling crappy again - picked beans this morning and got sunburned. I’m all achy, but don’t think my glands are swolen yet. I haven’t been sneezing like usual - maybe the sinus thing turned into an infection?. no other symptoms so far, apart from being tired and crappy feeling. time for some restful sleep.

10/4 - Wednesday
I slept restlessly all night - lots of hot/cold/sweating/chills. But not too much pain, and nothing coming out of me. By mid-day, the crappy feeling was gone.
Erik calls the other community members his “friends” as in, I’m going to go talk to my friends about XYZ or I’ll get my friends to help with ABC. I asked him if he had a lot of friends here, and he admitted that he’s one of the two extroverted people in the community. For some reason, Acorn attracts introverted people. I think this may be one reason I’ve had difficulty connecting here.

10/9 - Monday
I’ve been congested for the past week or so - a couple of days ago it got really bad. I started feeling sick - achy muscles, swolen lymph nodes - it got down into my lungs. I was hacking up — okay, so you probably don’t want to know exactly what I was hacking up, but it was gross. But by this morning it was back to just sneezing and coughing again. Hopefully I’ll be more or less healthy by the time I start my Twin Oaks visitor period on Friday.
I haven’t been writing much here. It feels like there’s not much going on. Since everyone’s so introverted, there’s not a whole lot of conversation, and there’s not much night-time activity. We’ve had a couple of nights playing board games - including one called “Apples to Apples” which was pretty fun. One night we watched some Star Trek episodes on DVD (2nd season), and I showed Waking Life one night. Compare this with other communities I’ve been to where we’ve had drum circles, sing-a-longs, game nights and much more conversation in general.

Yesterday felt like the first real day of fall. We’ve had colder days, but yesterday had that combination of warm sunshine and a cripsness in the air that makes me think of crunchy leaves underfoot and making out on roofs of buildings in the cold.

This afternoon I’ll head over to Twin Oaks for their more formal three-week visitor program.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.