“Today I found out that I had been declined the Ahwahnee position because I wouldn’t be staying until November. At first I was bummed, because, well- that job would have paid very well, and that would have taken some stress out of returning to SAU. I’m now… thankful. Not thankful that I didn’t get the job. But thankful that my perspective was changed rather quickly. I’ve been thinking a lot about integrity, and doing the things that I believe are right despite having to turn down convenience. When it comes to that, there’s so much that I don’t understand. You know that. I talk about it often. I really liked the lines at the end of Never Cry Wolf- “In the end there were no simple answers. No heroes or villains; only silence.” Anyway- I had heard that this job would be high-stress, simply because of the clientele and the tip-based pay- but the more willing you are to play up to those with money and prestige, the more comfortable you’ll be. A microcosm of this world. Just yesterday I was telling someone here that I didn’t feel good about it, but I was obviously justifying it somehow. Well- I’m no longer in that position. I didn’t have the integrity to decline it myself, but now it’s been done for me. I don’t have the luxury of the “it’s only temporary and the ends will justify the means” perspective. I’m now free to be present and it wasn’t by my own power. And that’s one of the most powerful realizations that I think one can have. I can live now- love now-be here now, and it isn’t because of me. And that’s why I’m thankful. I have other options as far as jobs, and there are a few that involve doing something good. They pay less, but, “better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” I think this is a small step in the right direction, even though I wasn’t willing to take it myself in the first place.”
In late February of 2011, I made the trip that I’ll be making today. I arrived at the San Francisco International Airport, spend the night there, woke before dawn and took the BART to the Embarcadero, bought Amtrak tickets to Yosemite, enjoyed a bit of San Francisco and then rambled on into the park via a series of buses and trains. I’m thankful for the chance to do that very thing again. I’m looking forward to slow coffee in the airport (which I’m sure I’ll never be able to view in the same way again), people-watching and getting people-looked-at, briefly touching upon San Francisco (w/ aims of picking up some decent to good tea) and arriving in Yosemite, being hit with the fresh scent of what some would call “home”, and seeking out familiar faces.
Unfortunately, today I also leave Sandra Farms. I leave with fondness of heart as this mountain coffee plantation and roastery is wonderful, as are the owners- Israel and Sandra Gonzalez. They’ve been very good to me, and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to become part of their livelihood and lives for this all too brief period of time. They’ve certainly lived quite the lives, and enjoy telling the stories of their experiences, whether they be of serving in the Peace Corps in Bolivia, escaping the Cuban revolution, the beginnings of becoming a specialty coffee producer, starting a family while living in the Bronx and attending Columbia Graduate School on $10 a week, and much, much more. Here are a few pictures from my stay. I still have a book to finish and a bit of packing left to do before I take off, so I’ll be leaving this one brief, and unfortunately, doing my stay a great injustice. Fantastic people, fantastic place, and I look forward to visiting again, and hope for others to be able to come along as well.
If you’d like more information on Sandra Farms Coffee, check out http://www.sandrafarms.com.
One of my Favorite Lookout Points
Coffee. Yet to ripen, yet to be picked. The aroma of the bloom is wonderful.
The Washing and Hulling Equipment. An Ecological Engineering Feat from Colombia. Fueled by last year’s coffee hulls, uses minute amounts of water, produces byproducts of a sugar that can be converted into ethanol and coffee mulch fertilizer.
Green beans in bulk. Heading to the co-op.