Anna walks off the ferry and through the station at Salt Spring Island. She was looking for the person with the sign that said "Moonflower Farm Co-op". She had at this point worked her way around the world through the organic farming organization that placed volunteers with farms. The farthest point had been New Zealand but Salt Spring Island was way closer to home that the bottom of the globe, yet far enough away to still quell her wanderlust. She was 27 years old and still figuring out what she wanted to be when she grew up. Thankfully both her parents were supportive of this fly by the seat of your pants and wander the world approach to figuring it out. The first part of her journey was with her cousin Eryn but Eryn had gotten homesick and lovesick for Tamela, who didn't wish to live out of a pack and thumb her way around on the world's back roads. Anna, on the other hand, had never felt freer. She stood with her pack on in her baggy jeans and Irish wool sweater in the cool misty rain of Salt Spring Island. It was early spring but Joyce had agreed to take her on a bit before the planting season. Joyce was a single mother and Anna had offered some childcare as part of her volunteering when there was less farm work. There were two kids; Harmony, the boy and Shine, the girl.
Phoenix Fire Moon leaned against his car watching the sky, the water and the people. He loved to watch them all and was glad to have the break to do it, having picked up several bags of fertilizer from town as a favor to Joyce. He was 32 years old and had worked for the farm more or less all of his life. Taking and moving one of his dreadlocks over his shoulder he saw a look of a tourist gal. She and her friend leaned into each other and whispered, then giggled. He knew he cut what some would call an odd figure. Tall and thin. Pale skin and hair so blond it almost blended in. His blue eyes were also very pale. But it was probably his hair that they were whispering about. His mother had locked it when he was 5 years old, using aloe vera to make each and every one. Over the years they had grown and combined and now they were at his waist. Most of them. But they did not look like the manicured locks many black people wore. And with his looking white, it was the first thing people noticed. Especially the tourists. Now, he simply smiled at them as the ferry docks. Then he watches the passengers disembark. He is in well worn, but solid jeans, a bulky fisherman's sweater and old shoes. On his head was a wool cap holding his dreadlocks back. But he sees many and tries to guess for himself which this Anna might be. He hoped Joyce had described him. That was usually the way of it. "You can't miss him."
Anna looked around like she was searching for someone. Joyce had described someone named Phoenix, a blonde guy with epic dreads. She had hoped he might have a sign but she did see someone leaning against a car who fit the bill and walked over. she smiled but her eyes were a little unsure "Are you from the Moonflower Co-op?" She asked timidly, hoping she had the right person. His eyes were a mesmerizing shade of blue.
Phoenix sees the girl approach and straightens. Very pretty and quiet. Shy, most like. That was actually a bit of a switch to many of the girls on the farm, so she was a breath of fresh air. "I am." he tells her and offers her his hand. There was something about this girl that told him a hug less than 60 seconds into meeting might freak her out a bit. "You're Anna Wright ... um ... right?" he laughs and smiles. "Welcome to Salt-Spring Island." he motions to the car. The door is unlocked and he wouldn't open it for her as if she were a cripple.
Anna takes his hand and shakes it with a little laugh "Right. Thanks. I have been here before but not to ...live and work. just to see the place." She walks to the car and goes to the back first to unload her pack, testing it to see if it opens, which it does. She stows the big pack and then heads to the passenger seat and climbs in. Anna smiles casually at Phoenix and then pulls on the seat belt which locks up half way across her. Her eyes dart to it and she tries again, and then again. She laughs at herself "Is there a trick to this or am I just inept today?"
Phoenix gets in behind the wheel as she settles herself. He gets into his seat belt with ease, but the one on the passengers side never did work quite right. "The trick is infinite patience." he tells her. "I bought this car brand new when I was 18. My first car. Got a deal because of this seat belt." he watches her struggle and takes pity on her, leaning over and yanking firmly until it cooperates and buckling her in. "Maybe the Mother put this car in my life to show me patience ... or so I could be violent, even to it." he laughs. He is a pacifist and helping with that seat belt was about as violent as it got for him.
Anna leans back a bit as he leans in, not out of revulsion, but in respecting his personal space and appreciating his help. When he reaches across her she feels the warm from his arm and can't help but smell him a little. He's a mix of healthy human smell with a bit of light but clean sweat, the breeze of the outdoors and a slight hint of something herbal, pot probably on this island. Nothing unfamiliar or unwelcome, in fact, comforting. She jokes at him afterwords "Thanks. I've never heard of a Goddess of Vehicular Violence but my traditions might be too Celtic for it...." She looks around at the car "This is a amazing that it runs so well though........"
Phoenix sits back up and chuckles. "You're welcome. She is a modern Goddess. Born in Detroit, if memory serves." he pats the dashboard. "I told her I would take good care of her, and I do. In return she takes care of my travel needs. And I don't just jump from car to car like some men. I was raised better." he winks and starts it.
Anna grins. She likes this guy already. Hopefully he represented a cross section of the community she was heading to to live. She doesn't quip back yet because she's just met the guy, but is clearly amused. Salt Spring is scenic in every direction and she soon finds her gaze drawn out the window to it's beauty and goes a little quiet for much of the drive as she absorbs it and connects. She pulls one knee up and leans her arm on it casually as her eyes lift to the height of the incredible spruce trees and her lips part but form a small smile at the corners. Clearly she loves the forest. They drive through it for quite some time and her enthusiasm doesn't wane. Finally there's a definite tree line surrounding a property and the road turns off and into the farm. Rustic would be an understatement. Everything is old, recycled or upcycled. Anna beams at it and exclaims "Oh....this is is exactly what I was hoping it would be like!"
Phoenix drives, letting Anna enjoy the scenery. It is incredible and he's always loved it. He smiles as he pulls in. "Good. It's a beautiful place and the energy is just incredible!". He nods around.
Anna hops out and is greeted by a pack of 3 eclectic farm dogs, all wanting love from the new person. She pets them and giggles "Hello there.......OK I only HAVE two hands so we'll have to take turns with pats....oh they're so sweet....."
A robust looking woman with light purple hair in two long braids comes out of the main house, carrying one toddler and half dragging another slightly older boy who has clung to her leg. She's wearing a patchwork dress over ripped jeans "Oh good...you found each other.......Hi I'm Joyce and these are my wild creatures, Shine..." She head juts at the girl and then looks down at the boy "And Harmony..." At his name Harmony scampers off through the wire fence like a wild animal indeed, complete with a roar. Shine roars after him and Joyce puts her down and sets her free to chase.
Anna chuckles at them and looks back at Joyce "Great to meet you. Just let me grab my pack." she head to the back of the car and pulls it out.
Phoenix gets out of the car and watches the kids over the top of it. "They stay somewhat still for meals.". He chuckles. Moving around he looks at Joyce. "I got about 300 pounds of the fertilizer in the back. That should be enough for everyone."
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Jamie Anna Wright
Joyce looks happy with Phoenix 's news "That's some good shit. It can go to the west garden. Maybe you can show Anne where that is after she drops her bag and her first task is set up." She looks at Anna ""If that's Ok?"
Anna nods "Ready to work anytime. Can I just leave my bag inside the door?"
Joyce points "Right side please and yes."
Phoenix smiles. "I'd be happy to." he watches for a moment and then returns to his casual lean against the car, resting a bit while he knows he will give a tour.
Anna walks back to meet Phoenix for the task while Joyce gets sidetracked by her Shine coming back with a scraped knee. Anna asks what she thinks might be logical questions "Shovels? Boots? Wheelbarrow?" With a big grin like a kid ready to play in dirt.
Phoenix smiles at her enthusiasm. "First we take it all to the shed. It's right on the edge of the field." he looks at her. "Do you need to change clothes? It IS fertilizer." they get some rich sheltered types who try and wear nice clothes and wind up sorry when they realize nature was dirty. "I have an extra pair of overalls and some t-shirts, if you'd like. "And there boots in the shed."
Anna shrugs "I came to do farm work. There's always at least one pile of shit to step in per day right? Everything is washable... but I might get too hot in this..." She pulls off the big wool sweater and tosses it in the back seat of the car. She's wearing a worn out grey t shirt now that says Mission Folk Festival. "And boots will be easier than runners so I'll borrow some of those. I've been WOOFing for a few years now...nice to be closer to home on this round."
Phoenix is visibly impressed and pleased. "Outstanding." he motions to the car again. "Let's drive over there and get started. It's near my cabin, so I can just park my car before I hit the shack." once they get in he glances at you. "I think you can skip the seat belt. Not a lot of driving here." either way, he then drives the short distance to the shed. Parking beside it, he gets out and moves to the back of the vehicle, opening the tailgate. Inside are 6 large 50 pound bags of fertilizer. He strips off his sweater, looking relieved to have it of of him. He smiles at the sky as he tosses the sweater on the roof of his car. "Let me get these in the shed and then we'll get to putting it in the soil." he reaches for the first 50 pound bag, pulling it out and swinging it over his shoulder with ease.
Anna suppresses a smile as Phoenix becomes suddenly shirtless. She's worked with lots of guys but she can't deny he's cute and very enjoyable to see in this state too. Being strong backed herself she reaches into the trunk and hoists the next bag of fertilizer over her shoulder, following him casually and placing hers down beside his.
Phoenix did not look back, so when he heard a thud and turned to see Anna setting her bag of fertilizer down by his, he raises both of his brows. "Well, all right then." he smiles. Many of the young women acted like 50 pounds was 500 and he wound up literally doing all the heavy lifting. But this woman was different. And he liked that about her. "Lets get the rest." he smiles and heads back for the 2nd of the 3 loads, since they're working together.
Anna keeps up to Phoenix easily and then lets out a big happy exhale when it's done. She spots the boots after and sits down on a straw bail unlacing her runners after finding a pair that look close to her shoe size. She's stepping into the first boot when it suddenly lets out a tiny "Mew!" She gasps and reaches carefully into the boot with her hand and smiling sweetly at a tiny furry grey mass of cuteness. She melts instantly and cuddles it to her chest "I found a little buddy....Check the other boots..." She says with a laugh.
Phoenix is pleased he only had to do half the work he thought he'd have to do. It was a bad time for wannabes and flighty girls. And he was glad to meet Anna, who felt so real to him. He smiles at the kitten and begins to look in the boots. He finds a pretty white kitten in one, but none in any other boots. "These must be Kate's kittens." he muses. "Hold on to her." he hands her over and double checks the boots, finally sitting and sighing as he pulls a pair his size towards him. "Would you hand me those ... socks?" he doesn't sound pleases with the word. His feet in his shoes are bare.
Anna keeps the grey one on her with one hand and carefully reaches for the socks, sensing his disdain "Does Kate have a cabin near here or is that the mama cat? And is there a god of sock violence? You know the consort of the vehicular goddess?" She's teasing but clearly her world view has very polytheistic overtones.
Phoenix takes the socks. "Kate is their mother. I think these two were the runts." he sits down and sheds his shoes and puts on one of the socks while the white cat plays with the toes. "No, no baby. Bad evil clothing. Stay away." he chides her in a voice many use for babies. He puts the now encased foot down and then puts on the other sock. "Socks are not violent. Only .. clothing." he chuckles. "My father had one hell of a time keeping me in clothes. So he eventually stopped trying, unless we were out in public. He thought I would grow out of it. I didn't." he reaches for the boots to put them on as well.
Anna feels her face go hot at the thought of the whole naked package of Phoenix. The top half was already a great distraction. Chuckling and clearing her throat she mutters "I'll consider myself aware of that fact then." She nuzzles the kitten who has now wrapped around the back of her neck "I'm not sure you can stay on there while I work little bug....."
Phoenix puts on work boots as Anna blushes and misses it. The white kitten doesn't make it any easier. "Now, now, little one. I can't play. Wish I could." he moves the kitten away and turns to look around the shed. "Lets work together. One of us can dump and one of us can rake it on in?" he suggests heading for the wheelbarrows and hanging tools. "We'll need a ... OW" the white kitten is climbing his jeans. "I'm starting to wonder if Anna has it right, little bug." he uses Anna's name for the other kitten. "You're like a tick or a flea." he chuckles and licks the kitten up and lays her in his hand, where she immediately begins to play with one of his dreadlocks.
Anna giggles and gently puts her kitten down on the straw "Maybe we should name them Tick and Flea? Yours is Flea because it's already in your hair..." She pulls on the boots now "What task do you want? I'll do whatever..."
Phoenix laughs and looks at the kitten. "Flea works. I'd been considering Boot, because she, like me rose up and out." he laughs. He looks at her and then around. "Well first lets make sure Tick and Flea are safe. If they follow us in the field and accidentally get cut in half by a spade, I'll never forgive myself." he looks around and considers. "Actually, lets put them in my car. I'll crack the windows and I'm already in the shade." he finds a dish. "Fill this with water and then when we're done, we can take them to my place." he looks at her. "Do you want to keep Tick, then?" he wonders.
Anna nods and fills the dish from a rain barrel just outside the door. The fact that she looks there first is telling of her experience living close to the land. She pops back in and picks up Tick, looking at the underside "I can care for him..... sure. What do you mean by rising up?"
Phoenix takes Flea and smiles as they move out of the shed and to his car. "My parents were hippies." he tells her as he moves from window to window, opening them all a crack. Enough to let in plenty of air but not allow kittens to escape. "My father legally changed his last name to Moon, and hen married my mother. When she went into labor with me, it didn't go well. My father panicked and drove her to the hospital." he finally opens up the back door of the station wagon and sits on the tailgate. "Basically I was born in an emergency room parking lot ... but my mother didn't make it." he strokes the tiny little white kitten. "So he named me Phoenix Fire and said I had risen from my mothers ashes." he grins a little sadly, looking up at her.
Anna looks truly saddened "Oh shit Phoenix. I'm so sorry...you and your dad must be really close then?"
Phoenix nods. "We were .. all my growing up." he tells her. "He died a couple of years ago." he sighs. "Drowned. But, he got to see me grow up. I had him for 30 years. A lot get more than that, and a lot get less. So I'm in the middle." he grins and smiles.
Anna closes her eyes for a moment when he talks about his dad and then spontaneously reaches out to hug Phoenix."Sorry...I know I don't know you...." As if she needs to explain her spontaneous hug.
Phoenix is pleasantly surprised by the hug and returns it. Of course, hugs are like candy on the island, but he could tell this woman didn't just give them out to anyone. "It's alright, Anna. But thanks." he tells her. "I know you aren't the usual touchy feely hippie. SO it means a lot for you to reach out to me that way.
Anna laughs and lets him go "You just seemed like you needed one. I am huggy when I get to know people, with friends and family....and I'm remarkably boring for a child born of two hippies. May parents are in that category too. I was conceived in a field at the Mission Folk Festival.....you know...practically Canadian Woodstock out here..." She smiles.
Phoenix considers that. "Maybe I did. Hugs are everywhere here but ... the ones that MEAN something are rare." he chuckles. "Boring, eh? How so. Tell me." he leans back a little, setting flea in the back of the car, where she begins to explore. "Oh .. many of us were conceived in a field .. or at least outdoors. Sex under the stars. Can't be beat." it is a simple statement of fact.
Anna grins "Oh you'll figure it out soon enough." She doesn't comment on sex under the stars but steps towards the shed "OK you didn't tell me whether to grab a rake or a wheelbarrow. Which task do I have oh seasoned farm boy?" She wiggles her brows at him briefly.
Phoenix arches his brows as she moves towards the shed. He makes sure the kittens are save, closes the tailgate and heads after her. "You have the task of working with me." he tells her. "So we need one wheelbarrow." he nods at it. "One rake and a shovel." he points to them, then grabs one of the bags of fertilizer and leans it against the wheelbarrow. Going into his back pocket, he pulls out a pocket knife, opens it and slices the bag open. Closing the knife, he puts it back in his pocket and pours the fertilizer into the wheelbarrow. "So lets see if you can work well with me. I'm picky." he winks.
As he's already filling the wheelbarrow, she grabs the other tools and lays them on top after he fills it "Alright, challenge accepted. I'm picky too." She admits and then smiles.
Phoenix nods and grans the handles of the wheelbarrow. "Then lets go be picky in the fields." he smiles back at her. "Might be I finally have a partner I can work with. That would be nice."