Thursday, December 1, 2011

Living with the Dirt

The farm. That’s how I’ve been referring to it anyway. To the majority of my acquaintances, there is no way to live outside the walls of a city apartment or suburban home. Dirt is considered dirty, food comes from lit aisles lined with tile, and a tent is not a home, but something you put up once a summer for two days while sitting around a campfire. Well, I’ve been living in a tent for five months and as my stay at D Acres nears its end there is a lot to reflect upon.

Life in a tent has been rewarding—night after night spent in the woods, with only a thin layer of polyethylene separating me from the outside, hearing what nature has to offer. Temperatures permeate the small enclosure leaving only my sleeping bag to protect me from the cold. There are no walls of two-by-fours and sheetrock filled with insulation to keep me warm. No central air. No plumbing. I do not mind it, however. It’s life before electricity. Without so many commodities I learn to live outside of the everyday box. I feel a strong connection to the place I sleep.

The projects undertaken have been educational. Taking knowledge discovered in the classroom and applying it to a real world problem is invigorating. Going beyond formulas and derivations stimulates parts of my brain that don’t usually get such attention during the school year. Learning applicable skills, such as welding and metal fabrication, has given me opportunities outside of a computer and a desk.
Living and working in the same environment is also a different experience.

It is commonplace for an individual to have their “home” and their “workplace.” A separation exists. Conflicts at home could be forgotten at work and vice versa. It takes a sense of community to be able to make progress through such difficulties. I am very lucky to have experienced such a community. As compared to working for a large company, making a product that will pass to the hands of someone merely labeled “consumer”, I shake the hands of the people I design for. I know the people that my work impacts.

D Acres has been a wonderful experience. It has exceeded my expectations as an internship through its people, projects, and lifestyle. And although my life after the farm may not be a rural one, the lessons and know-how from living with the dirt will not be forgotten.

-Joey Kile

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