Notes from Windward: #62

May not be very sexy, but ....

We live in an age of drama without danger, in which the illusion of risk has generally replaced the reality. For the most part, this is a Good Thing, since it's good to have safe water, safe food, safe housing, and to get our titillation from watching pretend danger on television or at the movies.

When we're young and invincible, we want as much challenge and excitement in our lives as we can grab with both hands, but after we've run smack into reality a few times, and had to pick ourselves up, shake off the dust and recognize that nothing is as easy as it looks at 17 - excitement starts to become somewhat suspect. Young folk want passion in their lives without really understanding that the concept derives from the Latin passus, i.e. "to suffer."

In some ways, our goal is to make Windward as dull as dishwater. We don't want to suffer unfulfilled longing, thank you very much. It's a cold, lonely world out there, and we came here looking for safe harbor.

In the words Mel Tillis sang so well,

"Let someone else be lonely, let someone else be cold
Let someone else make sure that all those lies and stories all get told.
'Cause there ain't no California where water tastes like wine,
Ain't Big Rock Candy Mountain where you feel good all the time."

This is one of the reasons we rarely work with "twenty-somethings," since they just haven't been through the mill enough to appreciate the incomparable value of serenity. Those immersed in a culture that pushes ceaseless acquisition are rarely able to appreciate simplicity.

But we do, and we incorporate those principles into what we do so that the process is as sustainable as a stroll through the park. One example is the inclusion of a washer/dryer combination in the kitchen building for the use of the kitchen crew.

There are seven main meals a week, although in practice, the kitchen crew only produces about five since there are usually a couple "soup, sandwiches and left-overs" days fitted in to moderate the menu. Cooking at Windward is very different from cooking at home in that our lead cooks only cook one day a week.

Cooking for twenty people is no small task; rather, it's a major undertaking that involves a lead cook and at least one helper and at least one dishwasher. It starts early in the morning, if not the night before, and takes a lot out of the crew. Consequently, a lot of thought has gone into figuring out ways to make the task easier and more efficient, and much of what we've learned about how Windward's kitchen needs to work has been incorporated into the design of the new dining hall.

The inclusion of a washer/dryer set in the dining hall will allow the kitchen crew to do their laundry at the same time they're preparing the main meal. This will provide an added benefit for the kitchen crew, which is good because of the central role that food plays in the celebration of our sense of community, and because it will lessen an ongoing source of interpersonal friction.

Organizationally, you usually get what you reward; we want good cooks, so we do what we can to honor and support those that do that work.

An ongoing point of irritation comes about because the person doing their laundry has to remember when to go back and take their clothes out of the washer and put them into the dryer. No big deal, but it's the sort of thing that's so easy to forget about. The problem comes when the next person wants to use the washer, and your clothes are still in there.

While that may not rank very high on life's scale of serious problems, it is the sort of thing that eats away at community. Whenever folks rub up against each other in the course of going about their daily tasks, there's a sort of friction produced. A certain amount of this is inevitable, and we have no illusions about being able to live in perfect harmony, but we're very serious about reducing social friction to the point of back ground noise - and installing a washer/dryer for the use of the kitchen crew is one way to do that.

French Drain for the North Wall

Windward Home Page - - - - Notes From Windward, Volume 62