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My 60th Birthday Adventure

Or, why this blog is late!

In February of 2010 I suggested to an old friend of mine that we go back East to an intentional community we helped found as a way to celebrate my 60th birthday. By February of 2011 it had morphed into a “Founders” Reunion. So on April 15th I began the kind of road trip I used to do when I was much younger: drive lots of miles one day, and not so many the next because there are friends to visit, or, in this case, friends I didn’t even expect to see. And everywhere spring was busting out: dogwoods, redbud, wildflowers, so much green for our high desert hearts to enjoy.

The place we helped establish back in 1980 had for infrastructure a pre-Civil War log cabin and barn, plus a couple of hippie-made structures, none of which were winterized. No phone, no running water, no electricity, and a rudimentary outhouse: primitive. I was there living in a tipi for 6 months, and ended up going back to the big city because there was no way to make money, no warm place to live in the winter, and just too much isolation. But the 8 of us who started this experiment did the ground work, including by-laws for what became a non-profit intentional community that has persisted 31 years.

When we rolled up in my friend’s car we were greeted like visiting royalty by the 15 residents (and several others who were there preparing for the annual  Beltane celebration) and given the grand tour: a large bathhouse with a sauna and massage tables, a well-appointed outhouse, a huge industrial kitchen and places to eat, decks, porches, cisterns, running water, hot water, solar electricity, and real homes with insulation….only the garden looked much the same (though larger), and all the trees had grown. Oh it was beautiful.

So I became part of an oral history project, reconnected with another founder, hiked the verdant spring mountains, made Bloodroot tincture, taught how to make Nettles tincture, engaged the residents and visitors in conversation, danced, ate great food, and basically had one of my best birthdays ever. I was honored for being a pioneer, and humbled by the appreciation. Definitely a peak experience….and then I “got” shingles.

Yup, from the sublime to the ridiculous, as in ridiculously painful, turning the last part of my vacation into an exercise in enduring being debilitated (I cannot sit or drive).  And so I managed to limp home (on the train, which was quite an adventure) and am now slowly catching up. So next week I’ll get back to essential oils and detox, which I’ve been putting to good use in treating my condition. Nice to know this isn’t just theory…

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