Roll On, Ohio!

Woody Guthrie wrote the song “Roll On, Columbia”  in 1941 as an advertisement for hydroelectric power.  As much as I don’t generally like product placement, it’s a fun song to sing about wherever you are.

This weekend I took an urban tour of Ohio, top to bottom, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland. Glancing at facebook this morning, I see that many of my friends were adventuring through dramatic woods, mountains, rock climbing. When did I start going to so many cities? When I was younger I was pretty terrified of cities, and the mix of exhilaration and exploration and “I AM HAVING AN EXPERIENCE HERE, RIGHT NOW” I got when I did nervously wander into Chicago or DC painted all those experiences with a dramatic brush. It was like those memories were put through a fancy cell phone app that makes them prettier and more dramatic than they probably really were, or maybe, a metaphor from the opposite end of the tech spectrum, painted by someone from the Hudson River School.

The other thing about that feeling of exploration, is I often worried if I was really HAVING AN EXPERIENCE and if there was something more definitely an EXPERIENCE that I should be doing so as to be fully experiencing things.

These days though, who can bother, traveling is just balancing my obligations and capacity and going places that have a few interesting things going on, run by busy people who all have their own things happening. And yet, there is a quiet beauty in exploring quiet pockets of places and meeting people who are excited about making things and making things happen.

Cincinnati International Quilt FestivalI ran down to the International Quilt show in Cincinnati, stopping by a fabric lovers heaven at the Fabric Shack in Waynesville, OH. I had heard people rave about the Fabric Shack – which is epic – but I was equally charmed by this quiet little town on a river filled with small businesses. Say what, a healthy historic downtown in a rural area?~!? PLUS they have an annual Sauerkraut Festival. Boom!

Ok, then lots of quilts, meeting quilters, being the youngest person in the room…until I got to the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild meet up. I learned several new skills and techniques that I will use to make projects that I have had in my mind and not known quite how to do. Dunno if I can express to you how empowering that feeling is?

I hope I passed on a similar feeling of empowerment to at least a few of the folks I trained with in Cleveland at a Anti-Fracking action camp. Here I was among the oldest folks in the room. We talked about messaging, and visions, and solutions to the problems we see. I shared a few things that help me work smarter instead of harder, and they rolled off to do amazing things.

Then Matt and I helped build a few greenhouses in this crazy old church/urban blight spot that is being converted into a lovely 3 acre urban farm. How is this urban farm different from others I’ve been to?

1. You camp inside.

Camping in an old church.
2. They are building up from asphalt instead of soil.

Starting the second greenhouse

3. The whole thing looks like an apocalyptic fever dream…but the good kind. With nice friendly people who like healthy food and healthy communities.
Greenhouses in process

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