mystical mountains & beautiful bees

May 14th, 2013

Day 20

I’m killing time by juggling outside of this autoshop where a new luggage rack is being fabricated for my bike.  I’m at Warren Wilson College here in Asheville, North Carolina where everyone who lives at the house I’ve been staying at the last three days attends.  This is a very interesting college and I’ve never heard of a system like it before, either because there aren’t many of them or I’m uninformed.  It’s called a work college which means that every student not only has to study but work for the school as well and is payed by reduced tuition.  For example, one of the girls I’m staying with is studying anthropology and services all the campus vehicles in the autoshop as well.  Right now she is very generously taking her time to fabricate a rack to be able to distribute the load more evenly on my bike.

Another of the girls at the house works in what I guess would be considered the agricultural department and keeps honey bees.  She also keeps bees at home and has five hives of her own.  She is as passionate as anyone can bee about anything and whenever she is talking about bees she is beeming.  I found so much of what she had to say fascinating and was also just impressed about the extent of her love of these creatures so I asked if I could accompany her to the hives one day and film.

making pollinators

recording the sounds of the bees for the film

It was such an intense experience being among thousands of swarming bees with the chance of getting stung at any moment.  This was definitely another fear of mine that felt good to overcome even though I don’t believe I’ll purposely go stepping into any bee hives anytime soon.  I got stung three times in the process of filming but it was totally worth it for the shots.  It is interesting that the german word for “passion” is “Leidenschaft” which directly translates to “suffer-ship” and basically means something one is willing to suffer for.  This girl told me she has been stung thousands of times since she started bee keeping.

It felt great to have a new interesting experience and to do something productive with it by making a video.  The rest of the day was topped off with a great motorcycle ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Asheville.  The guy at the house who is into motorcycles led me around the mountains and showed me downtown Asheville as well.  We stopped off in a bar right by the French Broad River, which is supposed to be the only north flowing river other than the Nile in the world.  He coincidentally saw some friends there and the next thing I knew I was sitting around having a drink with 8 or 9  people all talking about motorcycles.  One of the girls at the table had actually taken a very low-budget cross-country motorcycle trip before and shared stories with me.

blue ridge parkway

beautiful ride through the blue ridge parkway with zac

Earlier that day while we were on the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooking the mountains Zac, the guy who took me around, explained that there was a special magic about Asheville.  I listened to him share some serendipitous stories he had experienced here while gazing into what are supposed to be some of the most ancient mountains in the world.  A couple weeks ago I consciously had the thought that I want to meet people passionate about things  and document it, then I meet this beekeeper girl.  The way that Zac met me; someone doing a similar trip to what he will be making soon, how I keep coming across motorcycle stuff, he lived in Berlin, I used to live in Berlin.  Only a few days ago I thought about this idea of where to put a new rack on the bike but didn’t want to pay for someone to weld and cut metal and now I’m standing outside of the mechanic shop at the college having it done for free.

new rack on its way

It takes the girl about an hour to cut and weld the metal and then I install it myself.  I express my gratitude and say my good byes.  It was really a magical and beautiful three days here in Asheville.

I’m back on the road shortly after and within an hour I’m already at my new destination.  A good friend of mine since high school has been out here in North Carolina for the las six weeks doing lighting for a film.  I get to his hotel in the middle-of-nowhere town he’s staying and there is a key waiting for me at the front desk.  I take my first shower in 4 days and relax until he gets back from work.  He picks me up then we go out on the town drinking until 3am meeting some of the crew members.  I go to sleep drunk and happy, after reminiscing about good times and talking about everything under the sun with an old friend.  Couldn’t be happier.