Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back in Blog. And in Berea.

(cue ACDC)

I was feeling down about the blog for a while. Especially in Texas. It's hard to get motivated to write something. And this new MySpace layout thing keeps deleting blogs I write as I write them. Yesterday's blog took me 4 tries before it published.

But I'm back. I'm feeling a little more creative, and I'm ready to share some stories.

I played in Berea, Kentucky, on Friday night, in a small cafe called the Black Feather. It was adorable and is apparently the only place open on a Friday night in this sleepy college town. The show was surprisingly well-attended, considering I'd never played there before. There was an attentive audience, full of people who seemed to care about things like live music and culture.

For those of you who have never heard of Berea College, it's a bit of an anomaly in the collegiate system. It is free to attend. Yes, free. It's difficult to get accepted, but if you matriculate, you work in exchange for tuition. The work is hands-on work for the most part, and it seems almost anachronistic.

That is, until you think about this New Depression, and our dire need for sustainable living and to reconnect with the earth.

I had lovely hosts who were kind enough to put up a stranger (and strange) musician for a night, as well as give me a guided tour of the town. Matt was a senior at Berea. His first "work-study" was with the blacksmith. He currently works in the greenhouse, where he grows organic food the school sells to local grocers and restaurants. He and his wife live in the EcoVillage community, where students are allowed -- and encouraged -- to dig up their front yards and grow their own food. There is an orchard where the tiny quad should be and all kinds of student-built huts around the area, all designed for some class project on sustainable building materials.

It amazes me how most people today have no idea where food comes from. It's like the whole Marxian theory of people being alienated from the products they make on the assembly line. We are so focused on our own little worlds that we don't understand the basics of humanity -- earth and each other.

Berea is a beautiful little community. It makes me a little sad that it's a college campus though because people tend to think of it as an idealistic academic society, rather than a viable way of life. If only the city of Louisville could have an endowment like Berea college has ... maybe we could all have solar-powered water heaters and community gardens and nice friendly people sharing carrot seedlings.

Anyway, it was a nice stop on the tour trail.

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