This is my 5th attempt to write about my wwoofing experience. Hopefully this start will stick. I read countless blogs over the summer about travelling, travelling in your 20s (because it is definitely different), wwoofing, round the word trips, packing, saving money, places to see for beauty and places to visit to party. I read so much about other people’s experiences and as I am sitting here living mine it doesn’t resemble any of the ones I read. I didn’t think it would, but I guess I thought I would be able to deliver my experience in a similar fashion. To blog about traveling and wwoofing and bottle it into paragraphs that make sense. But every day I spend here becomes not about making sense but just sorta being here. And making bread.
When I first got here, I didn’t have the words but I knew there was a story. Arriving and being greeted by the friendliest woman who immediately made me feel as if I have found a friend. Followed by the breathtaking drive, along windy stone roads to arrive at a house surrounded by nothing but trees and chickens. I was greeted by the kindest Spanish girls with broken English but expressive faces. They took me on a walk to the lake and when we reached the lake’s edge they didn’t stop but kept going, walking straight into the lake. We got about 20 feet in before the water reached the top of our boots. It was a beautiful day with a pink, blue, and purple sunset over the gray lake and I turned to this girl I just met and asked, “Can I give you a hug?” She laughed and threw her arms around me and we swayed side to side, then turned and screamed, hurling our voices against the tree tops and hearing them drift back to us. I felt happy. That effortless, thoughtless sort of easy happiness that you don’t recognize in the moment because the moment is just that beautiful.
I have been here on Ti a Touric farm for about two weeks and I have so many of those stories that are composed of beautiful skies and people and the lovely gray coats of ponies. The indescribable moments that only nature can offer. There are a laundry list of things I’ve done that concretely illustrates what it means to wwoof in Ireland. I have fed ponies, donkeys, ducks, and chickens. I have touched the skin of a dead deer, rubbing ash from the fire into his coat to dry it out for a rug. I rode a tractor today. I have digged into the dirt countless times; weeded gardens, spread fertilizer, attempted to use a strimmer. Baked many delicious goods from scratch, bread, jams, and crust for amazing quiches and delicious pizzas that were cooked in a hand-made clay oven. I have picked vegetables from the poly tunnel and cracked eggs I’ve retrieved from the hens outside for breakfast. There has even been some rooster killings; that is a whole story of its own for another time.
That is a list of my actions, the things that the Canadian I am wwoofing with said I should blog about. But talking about all the activities doesn’t quite reach the root of the matter. Speaking of roots I spent about 6 days weeding the garden outside my host’s home and the irony was definitely not lost on me. I call my blog, my life, a series of displaced roots and I spent the majority of my time here on this farm dealing with roots. Pulling them out, cutting them, throwing them away, and saving a few to re-pot. My metaphorical roots have met literal rich, dark, dirty, and thriving roots. Roots that I am displacing and organizing and throwing away. Is it that through their separation I find my center? Or is it that the roots add to the metaphor, my displacing them mirror the same displacement I find in my life? Or is it just a lesson about the nature of roots? Removing them from the soil wasn’t easy but I think the earth here is fertile enough so that taking root will be. And once these suckers take root, it takes a 22yrs old full body weight with the help of a shovel and 10 minutes to get them out. So maybe that’s the lesson that I somehow circled around to while writing. The literal roots are teaching me about the roots of my life. To be displaced is hard and living in flux isn’t easy, but when I settle I can settle deep, sure and strong. Perhaps they are showing me a future where I’m certain a place is home.