Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Embracing her...The Road

"The Road" available at the shop
Our old farm in Oregon was much more rural than our current Apifera, about 8 miles from a tiny town where one of my vets was and I could buy gas, meet friends occasionally at a small cafe, but not much else there. It was 12 miles from the town we shopped at and Martyn was driving out 50 miles into Portland and then back again each day, rain or shine. Our farm was much more open-as in pastoral, with the entire 22 acres cleared and used for farming. Any neighbors were pretty much out of site–we had to plant trees on one side for a problematic neighbor, but our house sat well off the gravel road that carried about 25 homes of cars/truck and ended on a dead end.

When we moved there, there were definitely adjustments. I remember crying a lot the first six months, and it really took a couple years before we met 'like minded' people. I had many moments of feeling what have we done, but I always loved the land, and the barn, and farm feel. It was, and is, a very conservative crowd there, as are most rural areas. There were sounds to get used to, including lots of gun fire, some of it just for celebratory fashion, some was hunting, and then there was the guy with a permit who shot off semiautomatic weapons to target shoot.

We had a neighbor that was very problematic for years, with noise and garbage, which took time to resolve. We never broke bread with him, but he calmed down a bit especially after he was humbled by life's challenges and authorities on several occasions.

In time, the unnormal became the normal for us. We adjusted. W found people we liked and we made a life.

No place is perfect.

This place is almost perfect in some ways. We love the house. It is small, making storage a challenge but we came with as little as possible for that reason-that has proven troubling at times since we left things I can't afford right now-like a love seat, so I sit on hard rocker with a pug in my lap and it is hard on both of us. In time, we'll get a small love seat for the tiny 1760 house. But the house is very comfortable, easy to keep up with and full of charm and history. The land is less open, with lots of back woods, lots of marsh in the middle of the wood too and still lots to explore there, and come to know.

But the one thing that has really been hard on me is the front road. It is a main artery for the mid coast and considered a county road. This has clear benefits-it is easy access to town and hospitals, and anywhere we might want to venture. It is plowed regularly. But it is busy. Really busy. When we arrived in late May, it had just started to turn into the busy season. And it carries the fisherman to their 4am destinations-most it seems drive fast and loud to get there. Our house only sits about 100 feet off the road. Across the road is an old house, and about 1000 feet down is the bay to the sea, which we can see.

The road has caused me great strife, and to be honest, I wasn't sure this was where I wanted to settle. I told myself this place was a conduit, and this time here was a sabbatical. But each time I thought it, I felt conflicted, because I like the house, and our barns we've made, and I don't want to move. I want to be settled again. It has been six months. The winter has made the road turn a bit quieter, which we were told would happen.

"It gets pretty quiet," people said.

Um, not if you are a hyper sensitive clairaudience soul like me who came from a rural road. Non audio sensitive people won't get it, or think I'm exaggerating. But to me, my senses are high strung and always have the ability to be receptors of all that is being bombarded at hem. It is what helps me be the artist I am, and do the work I do, but it can also be challenging in the actual world. It's why boundaries are very important to me-to my well being and survival, actually.

But I got help from my healer and spiritual guide, and we talked about the road. I knew even before taking to her that it was partially my perspective about the road that was keeping me from feeling bonded to the property. I knew I could not change the road. There are two main roads in mid coast, we are one of them. In the summer, people on the road put all sorts of signs up to sell anything from eggs to old wood. Some put up signs advertising their woodworking or paintings. The east coast summer crowd-much of it riddled with cash-drive this road up the coast to their summer homes or vacation spots. It is of course something to take advantage of, and make hay while the sun shines, and then hunker down in the quiet of winter.

I knew I had to embrace this concept, and we have a plan in mind to create an outbuilding, combined with more trees, that will not only block the road noise more, both in sound and sight, but it will allow me to sell art and other things there, a mini book store complete with donkey twice a week.

But, before that, I knew I had to come to peace with Road, as I call her. I knew Road had benefits-like the fact it can taking me places and in a convenient way, but also Road has the potential to bring me people and things I need, and was lacking in Oregon due to our location. I came to realize that Road is a significant part of my work here, my future work-just like the vast remoteness of the last farm was part of my work then.

I thought about the curves of Road, for she is not a straight two lane highway, she is more like a county rural road, paved, but very curvy without shoulders, lined in wood and sometimes churches and cemeteries from the 1700's, and she often shows glimpses to the sea. I thought that if I were a bird, looking down, she would be a beautiful organic shape, like in a painting.

So I will continue to explore the beauty of Road, and try to find ways to scramble the obtrusiveness of the cars driving by. My healer suggested humming, or finding my own form of white noise that would help block out the sound of engines and way too fast trucks going by [many drive way over the limit]. The noise was really making me angry, and depressed. I couldn't figure out if I was mad at the noise, the road, or the fact I'd left our old place. But now, I also understand that as a highly sensitive person-both visually and audibly-it is not just the road noise that bothers me, it is the energy in those cars and the drivers that I might be picking up on. Just as I can be unnerved by meeting certain people, or places-like the sixth sense-I was letting those energies pass through me. I need to find ways to divert it.

I am painting Road, or thinking of her as a conduit, a bringer of something big into my life-when, I don't know, who or what, I don't know that either. But I do feel we have to be here, we had to leave Oregon, for many reasons. Some of the reasons I know and I told you, some I know and they are between me and Martyn; and some, I do not know but must trust that they are legitimate and not to be feared. In that way, Road presents something to me that I love...a good mystery.