No, the irony of a 2000 mile road trip built around a stay at a local living school is not lost on us. But hey, sometimes you have to do things that don't make perfect sense...
Sometime last year I learned about Koviashuvik and Jim and I talked about what a great experience it would be - someday. This year, with the changes we've had with schooling for the boys, we were able to make it work, and scheduled a Family Sustainability Stay. It was a wonderful trip. It was not without its cranky bits all around, but at some point on the last day I realized that we had been together with just a few short exceptions, for eight days straight, and it was all in all, great. I'm missing that, now that we're back and off to our separate bits and pieces.
We squeezed ourselves into our little hatchback and took a couple days to drive up to Koviashuvik, staying in a couple little cabins, cooking over the fire in the dark. Happily it was on our way enough that we could make a stop at the ocean for a short bit of watching and running in the waves.
Our stay at Koviashuvik was for two nights and most of three days, and was special experience. Which is not exactly what I want to say, but it was one of those full experiences that doesn't readily translate to words. I could gush about it, but that doesn't feel right: it was a quieter impact than that, I think. If that makes sense. Not in a diminishing way, but in a deeper way. I'll share more of my thoughts that have been percolating soon, I hope. But in terms of doing, there, we chose to fit in as many opportunities for learning as we could, and so spent most of our days working with Chris and Ashira learning and making: rocket stoves, wooden spoons, birch bark baskets and napkin holders. We learned how to process acorns to make flour, about composting toilets and root cellars, we took a walk and learned just a tiny bit of what there is to know about the forest surrounding their home, and we shared meals and songs and conversation. Inspiration.
We headed over to Vermont after we left Koviashuvik, where we had the chance to share a meal with Tonya and her family, which was a highlight of the trip for all of us. The kids played, and Jim and I had a chance to connect with Tonya and Mike, to learn a bit about them and their lives, and share about ours. I so enjoyed having the chance to talk over a cup of tea or two. As we were driving away, D & G both said they wanted to go back and visit again. If only Vermont were not so far away! (Or if only we were closer...). They sent us on our way with a map (which we neglected to bring) and a set of birch branch hooks from their shop (and I apologize for my photo which doesn't do them justice!).
The way home took us through (and around in circles in) Rome, NY, the place where the Erie Canal was begun, leading to many choruses of "Low Bridge, Everybody Down", and to Niagara Falls for a quick visit and a list of what to do when we go back with time to spend.
And now we are home, easing back into daily life here, the sort of sometimes awkward way you do when returning from a place or experience that has left its mark in you. Returning changed to an unchanged place. It is good, of course, to be back. And hopefully to be back here, in this space, more, soon.