Bill took us on a tour of the entire place. We saw a cozy new cabin for interns, a beautiful round house built totally from recycled materials, a vegetable garden that was about to send cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash tumbling down hill to local kitchens, and the high field where people gather for equinox and solstice celebrations. Several new homes were under construction. One was straw bale, another would be cob. A young couple was raising bees and queens, and their hives were stacked on the edge of the field, painted in vibrant colors and swarming with activity. Bill described the coming vision quest, where eight people were coming to sit alone in silence up on Narrow Ridge for three days, searching for answers to their lives questions.
The most serious new addition to the center was the natural burial place, high on the side of a hill. Bill saw a need to return to a simpler—and less expensive—method of burial and the group has worked with that state to open the first natural burial spot in Tennessee. People are buried in plain wooden boxes, without embalming. A flat marker is placed at the head of the grave and when the entire area is full, it will return to the forest so that generations to come will, as suggested in “Thanatopis”, be walking on the bones of those who have come before. It was a beautiful, peaceful spot, surrounded by lush second growth. Several graves were already there, covered in wildflowers. This small place was inspiring and made us feel connected to a wider circle of people all working to change the world where they are.
Greens and Beans on Toast: AKA dinner in fifteen minutes
Slice an onion and start is cooking on the cast iron pan. Use olive oil Add a couple of cloves of chopped garlic.
Chop a large bunch of greens-- any kind, but collards or kale, something stiff, works better. Mix them up inf need be. Add to the onion. Add some salt and pepper.
Slice some whole wheat toast and put it in the toaster.
Go downstairs and fetch a can, or, if you are lucky, a jar of home canned beans from the shelf. Open and add to the greens.
Grate some Parmesan cheese.
Layer the whole thing-- toast, greens and beans, cheese. Eat.