This piece is set at Deep Springs, a 2-year, experimental college that I attended in the early aughts. The school is unique. It’s tiny (usually 26 student total), all male (although it’s about to go co-ed), and incredibly isolated.
Landscape barely enters into this comic, but the campus is set in a mountain valley in eastern California’s high desert. It’s about the size of Manhattan, and the nearest town is a 45-minute drive away over a mountain pass. Phone and internet connections were slow and unreliable while I was there, and an “isolation policy” kept students on campus while school was in session. As the piece suggests, the school is also a functioning farm, with 250 head of cattle, alfalfa fields, and a large organic garden.
I arrived fresh from a Quaker boarding school, looking for the kind of close-knit community I left there. What I found is impossible to summarize. The experience was lonely and difficult. The desert, although gorgeous, provided constant, harsh reminders of how incidental our human presence was.
Am I glad I went there? Absolutely. Our culture tends to separate us from any real sense of where our food comes from, and working on the farm was particularly meaningful. That’s ultimately what this piece is about, but there’s so much more to explore about this place.
See more of Alex’s sequential verse at http://versequential.com/.