Volunteer Stories

Creative writing inspired by the gardens at Sunseed!

Last week the communications department offered a creative writing event in the drylands. Volunteers were invited into a meditative space to listen to Nature. They were encouraged to write about what has inspired them most from being at Sunseed and what they feel most passionate about contributing to life. Below is one of the pieces of writing which emerged. There is also a poem created by chatGPT, based on this writing, which a fellow volunteer generated, out of curiosity.

A walk in Sunseed

I took off my shoes. I like walking and I like being barefoot too. Feeling the earth underneath. Feeling connected. I follow Tabitha. She guides Naomi and me through the garden. Eddies Vedders song from “Into the wild” in my head. The warm spanish February morning sun is warming my body and face. I sometimes forget that it is winter. Spiky plants and dry straw hurt my feet, but I keep walking. The plants in this climate are in defense mode with their spikes. I have a weird feeling in my stomach, telling me something is a bit wrong, but I keep walking!

The birds are singing wonderful songs for us. The white butterflies are flying around the cabbage in the beds. Wasps are already awake in February here and the cats and dogs walk around. There is so much life in this place! My arrival three weeks ago seems so long ago. In the beginning of my stay, I felt that this is not my natural habitat. I thought about walking through German forests seeing green fields. I thought everything seems to be dead or dying here. Now I feel very different about this area. I feel more home here and it feels good to be here. I thought about living a nomadic life. Always traveling to different places. Always something new and uncertain. But I started liking the idea of a life like a migrating bird. Having different homes. Knowing already what’s waiting for me north or south.

I feel the wet soil under my feet in the garden. It is wet because it gets flooded by the garden team for watering in the traditional way. I see the Eco-maintenance team plastering the walls with clay. I hear the neighbors’ loud techno music and transporting stones with a big machine. I go up to the parking lot feeling the concrete cold and refreshing under my feet entering another world. I see cars going to Sorbas on the road.

I go to the compost toilet now. I feel leaves under my feet, like home. I close the curtains, take off my pants, squat and let go! I feel the wind. I put leafs and ashes, close the hole, put on my pants and wash my hands with water and soap. The sustainable living team makes the soap and someone a long time ago put the pipes that bring the water here. I don’t know if it is rainwater or if it comes from the ramp-pump and the lake.

I go to the lake now. I dip my feet into the clear and cool water. I can see all the algae-covered ground. I realize that I feel happy. The weird pain in my stomach is gone.

I walk along the seedlings and seed trays for regenerating the dessert. I pass the beautifully flowering almond trees. It is a miracle how plants grow. In the beginning they are little seeds and they become big trees or amazing vegetables of which we cook our tasty lunch and dinner. It fills me with joy to cut all these fresh ingredients to cook. (But sometimes it is still nice to take my car, go to Sorbas and have tapas and beer or buy chocolate, cheese and chips and see other people walking around, who I don’t know.)

I feel so much gratitude! Gratitude for everyone in our little tribe of 25 people, doing their tasks and providing for everyone else, keeping our lives filled with everything we need. I feel gratitude for the food, the water, the sun and the PV panels and the batteries, the soap, the fire in the room, when it was colder a few weeks ago. I am thankful for the joy and fun, the guitar playing, singing and the games in the evening. The hugs and the smiles, check-ins and sharings. And every evening the beautiful stars in the night sky. I feel gratitude for mother earth providing for us. And I trust in her! I am not afraid of collapse or climate change because mother earth is there for us!

The plants here seem to not need much. It never rains but the dew in the night is enough for them to survive and thrive. I don’t need much either. So many things are broken or old here, but that’s OK. I just need a place to shit, toilet paper, food from plants, filtered drinking water, gas for cooking, a pond to swim in and a dry shelter to sleep in with a warm blanket. I need good people around, to talk, play games, make music and hug. Life can be very basic and still be fun!
By Tobias Dienesch.

AI “poem”

cleardot.gifBarefoot strides, beneath the skies, I roam,

In Sunseed’s embrace, I’ve found my spiritual home.

With every step, the earth whispers, “You’re not alone,”

Guided by Tabitha, through the garden, we’re shown.

Eddie Vedder’s tunes, a wild soul’s delight,

Warm Spanish sun, in winter’s light, ignites.

Thorns and straw, a tender touch, despite,

In nature’s embrace, my senses ignite.

Birds serenade, in this dance of life,

Butterflies in white, in love’s flight, rife.

Wasps and beasts, in February’s sun, thrive,

A testament to life’s fervent strive.

From foreign lands to this arid embrace,

Once alien, now my heart’s resting place.

Nomadic dreams, with a migrating grace,

In Sunseed’s arms, I’ve found my pace.

The soil moist, underfoot, a sensual call,

Clay walls, techno beats, life’s enthrall.

Compost rituals, in nature’s stall,

Letting go, in the wind, I surrender all.

Lake’s cool kiss, algae’s embrace,

Pain dissolves, in this serene space.

Seedlings and almond blooms, nature’s lace,

In earth’s bounty, our sustenance we trace.

Gratitude flows, for the tribe, the land,

For every meal, every helping hand.

In simple joys, together we stand,

Under stars, in this sacred band.

Needs are few, in this life, so grand,

With earth, with each other, we understand.

In Sunseed’s embrace, together we band,

A testament to life, beautifully planned.

In rhyme and rhythm, a spiritual ode,

A journey of connection, in love’s abode.

In Sunseed’s embrace, our hearts explode,

A dance of life, in love’s code.