I realized that I never gave myself a chance to outwardly (or publicly) reflect on Asheville because I was so caught up in it at the time. But I've found that I've not been able to stop thinking about all of the wonderful places and people that I experienced there since I've been here in Burnsville. So, I need to be sappy for a moment, because it's in my nature:
Firstly, being parked on Gaston Street, just down the Road from the 40 and 66 Congress Street houses basically made my visit. The 40 house is full of amazing people who all taught me a little bit about something. Clover taught us about making (and scrapping off) Earth paint, and we talked a lot about what it's taken to make that house what it is. He's been working on transforming it for 5 years, taking out walls, putting some up, making things more communal and sustainable, with the help of those that live there. Eli makes his own moonshine (one giant container of which tumbled over in his room and you could basically get drunk off the fumes just walking in there - it was great), it's delicious. He and Chynna are both amazing dancers. Chynna is like a ray of radiating sunshine; she is always smiling and it warmed my heart. Her and Nick always accompanied us on our nature visits, both of them pointing out edible plants (chickweed is so yummy!) and teaching me about the names of the vegetation surrounding us. Nick is amazing and compassionate, and we talked a lot about loving nature and sometimes feeling strange in cities. He's had some wild experiences farming in Costa Rica and traveling around, and goddamn that boy can basically run up a mountain, leaving us in the dust and panting. Tara is a midwife, and relaid to us some really crazy birthing experiences that happened while we were in town. Carly is extremely knowledgable about herbal medicine, her room is full of jarred herbs, and she is also a fellow basket weaver - sweet! We had some good nights in the 40 house with sing alongs, fires, dinners, and my new favorite game, Poop Smoothie.
The 66 house (aka the "animal house") is a handful of houses up the road. The non-homosapiens whom abide there include Sanora (min-pin/wippet), who is easily one of the sweetest and chillest dogs I've ever met, 3 rats: little Lily, so sweet, Taloum, and Pocket. I never knew how awesome rats were to hang out with, but I regularly enjoyed putting Lily down my shirt and letting her crawl around. They went on walks in people's shirts a lot, no biggy. Hannah is the creature whisperer; super in tune to energies and really warm and loving. Meeting her gave me the first feeling of home. Jojo is cute and hilarious, regularly cracking us up. Kate, aka "Miss Kate!" (when she's feeling sassy) is so sweet and adorable; we had a great drunken dance the last night in town when we went to see a show in West Asheville. It was definitely I who was stepping on feet. I never said I was graceful. Bullet suits her name; she is perceptive and thoughtful, and has one of the best giggles I've ever heard. Actually Bullet is coming to visit us at the farm tonight!
Others we met were Yoshi and Rebecca; we shared a nice dinner with them on the bus; they were our first dinner guests. Trey could go on for hours about really deep thoughts and ideas. He's definitely inquisitive and open to sharing. I went swimming at Warren Wilson with Kaleb, who works at Firestorm cafe with Chynna. He had me giggling and kept my brain cranking all day. Good soul. There is also, of course, Joe, who brought us here. Joe is full of energy and so positive it amazes me. There are so many wonderful people in Asheville, it's definitely the place to go if your looking for new friends to love.
Otherwise, Pisgah National forest that we visited once to hike, and another spot to camp was so beautiful. The wonderful thing about Asheville is its surrounded by natural beauty that made me feel a little less crazy being able to escape to when I had the chance. I didn't get to visit Hot Springs, but I hear bathing in some natural hot spring water along the river is wonderful, and I'd like to experience it some time.
I miss and love these places and these people, and I am grateful that they have touched my life. Their presence lingers on in me, and I am reminded that in this journey we will have to part from all the new things we come to love. That is a difficult lesson, but like everything I'm sure we'll grow from it. I know that I've already done a lot of growing in Asheville. We have already learned so much from new experiences. And hopefully it means we've always got places to come back to.