This place is paradise.
I mean, it’s not MY version of paradise because I love the internet, and like… lounging around doing nothing and being sad, but if ever I get to the point where I’d like nothing more than to hide away from the realities of 21st century life, this is the perfect place to do it.
There are 30 women living here, which on the one hand seems like not so many, and on the other is a very full house.
This is what a day here looks like:
1. The chickens start going berserk at about 5 am. That is when we wake up.
2. We “Greet the Morning” which is a new agey way of saying we all gather in the dark, dark pre-dawn kitchen to… I mean, I don’t want to say pray, because they’re strictly secular here, but I mean the idea is basically to all talk about things we’re grateful and excited about during the day, which feels so lame, and if I was being observed out here, I would be big time rolling my eyes, but listen, the terrorized, cowering trauma monster that lives in my head, is so soothed.
3. Whoever is on breakfast duty starts getting food ready.
4. Everyone else does their first morning chores. In other words, we all deal with the animals. So far I feed those damn chickens, which I have managed to do twice without kicking any of them, even though they woke me up at 5 am. Other people do other stuff though — feed and milk the goats and take them out to their pastures, feed the rabbits. There are even a couple horses.
5. Breakfast. I have been living on diner food for the last so many months. All of this food comes out of their garden or from their animals. The bread is home baked. It’s literally paradise. I even ate like an entire vegetable.
6. The first block of “work time” where everyone tackles a project around the house. It takes a lot of doing to keep this place up and running: horses need exercising, gardens need weeding, fertilizing, tilling, planting, harvesting etc, fences need mending, floors need scrubbing and sweeping, dishes need doing and so does laundry. Apparently everyone cycles through everything. So far I’ve done a lot of weeding.
7. Lunch. Just as divine as breakfast.
8. Block two of work time.
10. Community rec time. Everyone has to hang out together for an hour or two after dinner and do some kind of fun activity. Yesterday it rained, so a woman named Rachel read aloud to us, some new paperback mystery.
11. every night before going our separate ways, everyone gathers in the big room to say the house intentions. Which sounds sorta creepy now that I write it down, but I swear, it’s not weird. The house intentions are all just like… setting strong boundaries, protecting ourselves, taking shelter when we need it, etc etc. It’s pretty cheesy, but Terra says it’s important to remind ourselves why we’re here.
That’s it. That’s the witchiest thing they do here, and as far as I can tell, nothing magical actually happens.
12. Bed time. There aren’t electric lights in the upstairs rooms, so once it’s time for alone recreation, I pretty much just pass the fuck out. I’m not cut out for all this working. I’ve been sitting in the back of a car for like months.
I suspect that if I stayed here longer, and got to know everyone better I’d come to realize that there is drama and pettiness here just like everywhere else, but for now… it’s so peaceful hahahaha. The people are, for the most part, great. It’s mostly women, but there are a few men who live in an out building, as well as a handful of nonbinary folks.
There’s lots of laughter. Every day a few therapists drive in, and people are assigned therapy for their afternoon work block.
“We all seem pretty normal on a daily basis,” Kim explained this morning as we brought the compost out to the worm bins. “But stay here long enough and you’ll see someone have a breakdown. Happens once a month at least.”
Kim’s a couple years older than me and has been here almost a year. They wound up here to escape an abusive relationship, and is starting college next quarter. Apparently Terra helped them fill out applications and get scholarships. Terra used to be a lawyer, and is excellent at making sure the people who come to Haven leave with every opportunity.
“It doesn’t always work for everyone,” Kim told me. “One of the first friends I made here, Stacy, couldn’t stand all the structure, all the weird specific ways everything has to be done. But most of us like the sense of structure and accomplishment.”
Personally, as much as I’m liking having someone tell me what to do every moment of every day of my life.
BUT. I mean, inevitably there’s a but. I’m way too contrarian for this place.
It’s too peaceful and quiet at night hahaha. Despite being absolutely exhausted at night, in the quiet and darkness with nothing to do to distract my very fussy brain with, I end tossing and turning for hours quietly panicking, until finally falling into a horrible, nightmare sleep. The dark is too absolute and the quiet leaves too much space in my brain for other bullshit. But it’s beautiful, and everyone is so kind, and I’m always exhausted by the end of the day, so. I mean, it’s great for now.
I have yet to see any magic. Pretty sure someone along the line was misinformed about all that.
I haven’t talked to the Hawthornes yet today, but when I do, I’m gonna tell them to let me stay the weekend, just to be sure, but I’m pretty sure this is just a bunch of people rebuilding their lives, just like they say it is.
Also — happy Halloweek! In my head I think I assumed I would be spending my Halloween with the boys, doing…. I don’t know dumb shit? Watching movies? Instead, I’m here, living my cabin in the woods dreams, so. Enjoy the spooks for me this year I guess.