Arcosanti

I live in an 8-ft-square concrete cube with a round hobbit door, on the lip of a cottonwood river valley in the Upper Bajada. Peacocks scrabble on the tin roof of my cube.

When the sun rises I climb from my cube up to the city on the top of the mesa where there are many Italian cedars like tall green pencils and olive trees heavy with fruit. We poke the olives with knives and sink them into huge tubs of brine. My best bud is a skater dyke from portland with light in her eyes. I can reach out and pick a lime while I shower in the greenhouse. Everything is apse-shaped, yes, shaped like an apse. They make 50,000 ceramic bells here every year — they are godawful ugly but they sound like heaven, heard from across the valley on the far mesa where i have climbed.

My duties include working in the Minds Garden — a flat mesa-top piled with cars which burned up during a rock festival in 1978, covered with grass and planted in (more) olive trees – and pruning olive trees. and picking olives. and processing olives. and laying irrigation lines for the olives. Arcosanti is a “machine for living” filled with steep curvilinear stairways that end in 12-ft drops into pits full of drywall shards. the exterior lighting is solar, and there is almost none of it. there are small tarantulas. things here are red and violet and spiky and dry.

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