May 11, 2009

Report: May 9-10 Monastery Work Weekend

It looked rough Friday evening for the few of us who arrived early: 30 mph winds (a few limbs came down on the land) and driving rain most of the night - except for a surreal half-hour when the full moon, between banks of cloud, illuminated a very cold but clear sky. Then more rain sweeping in, tapering off to heavy mist in the morning...

By the time the rest of the crew arrived, though, the day had brightened somewhat. We even had some sun. And with the rain spring had fully arrived: by Sunday, the light green new leaves had begun to unfurl into broad, dark green. We're now able to visualize again the lush summer canopy, which will soon cover the ravines and deepen the silence of the place.

All in all, a great and enormously productive weekend. 24 total made it up, with most camping out on the land. Six hours of chain-sawing and chipping gave us a completely clear site: the chips were used for our trail. On the other side of the ravine, our parking area was being cleared of brush. One stump and a rock that I'd been convinced would require dynamite are now gone; the sandstone boulder was broken up in place by a rotating sledgehammer team. One particularly nice slab of sandstone stands at the far end, marking the point where the trail leads down into the ravine.

We also now have 32 railroad ties, ready for next time. One was cut into two posts, which were set at the parking entrance. Next time I'll attach small reflectors to these.

Finally, we finished our most crucial work for the weekend: the final surveying and staking of the construction site, with concrete piling locations gridded and marked.

We're ready to break ground.

Our deepest gratitude to everyone who worked so hard. Special thanks go to our crew chiefs (who were not as grumpy as I'd expected), our cooks for a perfect campfire-cooked breakfast, and to everyone for the rather inspiring teamwork that seemed to just spontaneously happen.

Here's a video montage and some photos from our first Monastery Work Weekend, on the Korinji Images Page.

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