Monday, September 07, 2015

You can burn the buildings, but you can't take away the experience

When I went back and saw the alders thriving, and the forest coming back, it felt like it was over. And that was okay. When Peter built the first buildings out of plywood and pressboard, it had nothing to do with forever, it was an experiment in education.

If we thought we worked hard, we were very aware of the Italian settlers that had come before us in the 1920's. They carved out a farm from wilderness. They had turned the cedar trees into buildings, by the sweat of their bodies. They didn't have any machinery. When we tore down that cedar house, we tore it down reverently, piece by piece. And it was respecting the life that those farmers had built in a very isolated part of the world.

Another thing I wanted to say about the development of the hostel and the building. It was totally organic. It wasn't conceived of making a business out of hostellers or people from Vancouver. The beginning of the hostel was that we couldn't do it all. It grew because we needed help. We all needed to give up a part of ourselves, so that the whole functioned.   

Students building the log house around 1980

Life skills of learning to work together
When Peter first conceived of the farm, it was not to build a paradise where we would stay the rest of our lives. It had to do with people, and their experiences. It was for a transient place for people to learn who they were, in a very special environment. We found space and silence.
He never saw it in terms of the permanence of the buildings, but in terms of the people who came there, and their relationship to nature. Buildings come and go in any country and in any place. But the change that comes in the making of it -- the doing of it -- is permanent. That was clear to me when I went up to the place where the buildings are now gone.

Catriona, one of the volunteer staff in 2000, showing off the salad she made

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