What does it all mean!?

This post was written by Spring 2018 intern, Kelly Fuge.

Looking through photos from this adventure, of this transcendent place and excellent people of CR,  I’m stuck deciding what to write about. Do I capture the build itself? The hard work that solidifies our bond as a group?  Or the communal life – my own tribe of builders – the dinners we prepare, or the fantastic chaos that ensues when we all return home.  How do I even begin to record these unique beings of light? Their mannerisms and personalities are infinite, the unique contributions they bring to the group irreplaceable.

At the very least I’ll try to capture desert in spring!  The season is inspiring me to think about my future in a different way, as well as the future of human collaboration.

We’re back from spring break and all our adventures and it’s good to be home – a lot of us are wondering about the potential for these types of communities in the future.   Spirits are high this morning and work doesn’t feel like work – at least today. We enjoyed a warm welcome home in the form of a Seder hosted by Isaak and I realize how much I missed my CR family.  I feel content, warmed by the sun, and alive!

Even my mood is springy!  I am reminded of southwest springs past – nearing the end of school and anticipating time on the rivers and in the mountains.  The green is so bright that it’s almost yellow, and now it is contrasting intensely with the late afternoon darkening storm sky.

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In some ways, Moab and CR have reminded me of returning to childhood.  The weather and landscape mostly. I recall days when my highschool friends and I would strike off on our own to go backpacking and try to be ourselves – I remember trips with each of my parents on different occasions.  The desert is like a record keeper of my life in relation to it, and also a reminder that life on earth is infinite and timeless. The warmth of the sun brings me gratitude of the long and full life I’ve already lived.

My journey to CR is like many, serendipitous yet purposeful.  In August 2017 I embarked on a river trip down the Grand Canyon – a highly sought after expedition among boaters that is both life changing and hard work.  My nine crew members and I formed a close tribe requiring constant collaboration and vulnerability – running whitewater and loading and unloading all the requisite gear every day.  It is mentally, socially, and physically exhausting – yet rejuvenating for the tired place in our soul that aches to have meaning bigger than ourselves. For me, it was rejuvinating to experience my full potential as part of a group of friends, tribe and community.  I’m finding a lot of commonalities between our Grand expedition and Community Rebuilds. Most common, is that the people make it – and we would not be able to do any of it without each other.  Every day in this program I am humbled by everyone’s hard work. More so, their ability to commit to working together.  This is how it should be! It reminds me of so many days on the river.

After contemplating these topics all week – where I am in my life cycle, how to make the best of it, how to do better as a human community on earth, I got a flat tire!  I ended up walking home but accepting some help from Dwayne and Dory who live along Mill Creek road. Dwayne was a 60 something veteran, who’d come for the day to visit his mom Dory, both had lived in Moab for 50 plus years.  I wheeled my bike to their garage, they filled my tires with air, and we talked. Dory had toured the western U.S by motorcycle in her younger years with her late husband. We appreciated the setting together but Dwayne missed his old town of Moab – when it wasn’t overrun by tourists and you could go wherever you wanted.  He missed the small town – what I took to mean the community that looks after you, the slow life, the lack of activity and cars. When we actually had to talk to each other for entertainment.

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The interaction jostled me out of my worrying how to make the world a better place.  Maybe it already was and I just needed participate. The younger generation forgets the purity of the older generation, the wisdom and simplicity.  The older generation forgets what it’s like to be younger and think you know everything. As a millennial,(there I said it!) I feel myself switching between a desire to do things completely differently, and a complete sense of apathy about how to fix things.  We have the option of what was created for us, or the option to create it. Or maybe the real wisdom, is in knowing that we have that choice every moment – to be vulnerable to each other and free ourselves from our own restraints.

CR has reminded me that we should care about each other BECAUSE we care about ourselves.  I know my tribe is my support, my safety. So I work to keep it healthy everyday.

Michele and I hiked up Mill Creek, spending much of the time talking about how to make group living possible.  We concluded that a shared project/goal/ struggle was a key ingredient to glue the group together – otherwise people go their separate ways at the pull of independence.  

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The build has also been consistently challenging,  And the struggle of the journey must be embraced because that is how we grow – the struggle creates us.  But maybe life can only be beautiful and pleasant because it is ugly and uncomfortable too. It is like this on the job site.  Where we can play with that challenge without giving up hope, knowing that it will work out as long as we have our buddies.

Some days are hard for sure.  Just like in the life we all left before this, just like life is and will always be.  But everything feels more balanced here – if I know I am having a hard day one day, I know the next will be better.

A spring rain sprinkled down on us, the cottonwoods filled the canyon with a fresh green, and we walked along dreaming about what’s possible and how to make it happen.

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