Saturday, May 06, 2006

Nirvana Lounge

I had been a bad mood. Too much to do. Finally I got myself in a better mood by taking out all my timers and trying to get them set up for summer watering, feeling very efficient(it's an illusion, I know,but what the hell, I'll enjoy it while it lasts). I wasn't sure I was up for the Nirvana Lounge night, an event organized by one of the Riversong people, the intentional community lately come to town. There had been much commotion about it, a flurry of emails keeping the mind involved and the energy building. Finally I got cleaned up and drove to town passed by RK going full speed trying to get to the store to get ice before it closed and followed slowly by Jennifer and Rick. I was hailed at the Red House before Valley View by the tree planter guys checking to see if I had stakes for the nets, which I do. They are so happy to be getting paid well to do this work, and then I saw Bryan's truck at JC's and I pulled in to talk to him about Samson staying with him while I go to Boston. There seems to be little chance of snagging someone to stay at my place while I'm gone. I walk in. It is deserted, except for Bryan playing shuffleboard with Denis. It's Bryan's new hobby. Then who do I see but Scott Meigs at the bar. Wow. Hugs all round. I am very glad to see some of the "old" Hyampom people and I immediately invite them to "Nirvana Lounge" Scott is a little put off by having to meet new Hyampomians, but Bryan is interested in the food and maybe there will be some new women. So off we go. I have my old friends to keep me company and am feeling very comfortable.

The HCC is decorated with tapestries and rugs. One corner has sofa and air mattresses to lie on. There is music mixing machine and the stage is covered in cloth and has psychedelic lights playing on it. The kids run behind the stage and do shadow puppets.

I come in with Scott and introduce him to the Riversong people, saying I picked him up at the bar. Bryan comes in and we all pour some wine and sit discussing who is who and drifting into politics and Colbert and back out. Scott points to Steve and asks who he is and i explain the instigator of this and someone asks where Teri is and I explain checking out the town in Wisconsin where they may move. Steve turns around wide eyed at me as if I had let something slip. "It's Hyampom after all", I say. "There are no secrets". "Not where you're around", quips Bryan and we all laugh. Kids are running around. Mykayla and Zoe are dancing together, very sweet. Katharine comes saying that the guys weren't ready so she came ahead. Later James and Thomas show up. Thomas has U R That written in black on his forehead.

The food is indeed Indian. We help ourselves to some big platefuls. Thomas has done his peanut Thai dish and there is rice and tons of curry dishes and Richard is in the kitchen for an hour or more making these small spicy lamb balls wrapped in dough and deep fried--to die for, dipped in a red hot/sweet sauce. The wine flows; the talk continues. Dick Arey is there. Sally and Bill of course. Charlie Sweet and the Newsomes, and Ebbe and Ushci who have eggs for me. Finally mostly fed, some are outside, some in. Steve begins to play music and we dance, rocking out to Ride Sally Ride and other old favorites. I ask RK to dance but he won't but Wil will and we are joined by a good many others. I last through several tunes and then my knees begin to hurt. The hyperextended one especially.

Some young adults show up, braids, beards, long hair. Here are the "women" Bryan and apparently Charlie and others have been waiting for. They are friends of James from Hayfork. I begin to make the rounds to say goodbye.

This morning I discovered that dancing on the bad leg has improved the knee considerably.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Went for a short walkabout after supper. Just wandering, looking up into the bare branches of the scorched trees tryiing to see new leaves. There were on a few. The ground was covered with weedy flowers, poison oak, thistle and a number of plants i didn't recognise and could identify if I had the inspiration to look them up. The distant mountain was clearly visible and a few clouds had come in late to cool the afternoon and make me wish I had on my sweatshirt. I walked down to the meadow. It is ringed with trees still alive and the big oak in themiddle lives on. The one Allan wrote a poem about; the one Frank said, It looks like you have found your place here. We had been reading Don juan. The grass was over a foot deep underneath it.

The barn site had grown a coat of little pink flowers which obscured the detritus of burned objects somewhat. I hoped eventrually for a masticator which would clear out the landing the logger used of the dead small trees and limbs and make it viable again for growning things. Right now it is bare.

I wandered back up to the house. The varied thrushes were singing to each other and I sat in the big chair to take a thorn out of my flip flops, listening to them. The clouds were golden peach and I turned the chair to better watch them slowly grow into orange and then melt into mauve and grey. The red jeep and white pickup that went out earlier drove by going back. I thought it was Dale and I imagined he was coming to check out the burn. I thought of telling him, 'Well, I've let go of the way it was." Sadness had permeated the walk, not a gut wrenching sadness, just a quiet, relaxed acceptance of "this is what is left" A cresent moon shone through the just opened leaves of the locust tree, and the day was done. The evening and night are our own. On the way in the house, I was heartened by the realization that writing and meditating are very similar activities. The attempt is to note what it is I am experiencing and so I came to write this down.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Gnostic Sunday

The Gnostic celebration was a first and probably the only Hyampom experience of its kind. James read a very well written ie. brilliant explanation of Gnosticism and then Rosamund talked about how mistaking myth for history was missing the point of the Jesus story. She went into some detail and explication of the her understanding of the Gnostic gospels. A very powerful persona, striking presence and the talk was what we all know well said and sprinkled with anecdotes. She had been arrested as a teenager in Cuba(her father was a diplomat) and repeated raped and tortured. Her breakthrough moment was hearing one of her torturers speaking with love and affection about his daughter. She realized he was capable of love. She carries that truth in her being.

They had set up the ceremonial grounds in the big grove beside the red house, with the huge oak and giant boulders making the perfect setting, sunlight filtering through the trees, moss glowing. Her boyfriend/husband/partner was there along with two Egyptian cats they kept in cages because they were scared they would freak out if let loose. Katharine had told them about the mountain lion paws on window sill looking in the window at her.

After the talk which included her understanding of the Mary Magdalene myth--again it isn't about history, its about awareness, the ritual ceremony began. Communion and singing and chanting and some tape playing by the husband and drumming. We almost all took communion. Tom Trueblood was there with Jan Wethers--that was the big surprise for me. The town cynic taking communion and Jan was sooo into it, meditating and in tears at times. Thomas did not know them and had not invited them, but was glad they were there. The day was beautiful and although the recitation was a little weak as no one had seen or said any of the lines before, the whole ceremony went off well, although I must confess to being slightly uncomfortable with the ritual parts--vipassana is so free from any add ons and up until the singing chanting I could have been at a dharma talk. But then I felt like I was indulging in some new ageiness, but of course that is not true and speaks more of the filters of my mind than of her service which is supposedly ancient. The fact that this ceremony was going to happen only once also affected me. I haven't taken communion since hhhmmmmmm maybe a teenager, and I was struck by the blood and body metaphor which seemed more real to me. This part of the service was my favorite when I was young and I always felt refreshed and made new after communion. But this time I got a sense of sacrifice and the reality of blood and body and cannilbalism which surprised me and I struggled with it a little, but couldn't deny it. Finally I mentioned to Teddy that I was put off by Christianity's bloodiness--which he dismissed because after all he is Jewish and has overcome his distaste for it so why should not i? Teddy is a trip. One of his paintings hung on the side of the red house and looked fabulous there. Mykayla and Dylan were the youngest partakers.

Then there was the potluck. Uschi had made delicious blackberry pies and Susan Bower had brought asparagus from her garden, and there was wine and all the taste delights we love. Richard had brought a half gallon of tequila and margarita mix and was soon imbibing and talking loudly. Heard him telling Rosamund that he didn't like ritual, but was into selfless service. I grinned at Katharine and said, "I'm in for the pelton wheel fix" and we laughed, and since others heard us, i added that RK is one of the most generous and talented people around and has fixed things for me more times than I can count. Which is true as he was just up here and fixed the pelton wheel and also made the soup, which I had cooked, taste better and he did seem to really love the Newman's oreos which i bought him as we did an online crossword puzzle together after supper and he was a big help there also. David (Rosamund's partner) said he had been to the river and how powerful it was. He hopes to come back. He loved the drive on windy roads.

Later in the day we drove into Tony's housewarming--the third of the mill camp by Steve Vincent's. He had a great sign up "New Owner, drop in" which I thought was very Hyampom. Small crowd there and many of the same people. I walked around the two houses he is gutting and going to fix up, remembering going there before the Christmas play to talk to Tree's mother about his behavior. The house reeked of pot, which was fine with me, but Jane would not believe Tree had misbehaved, and I was an unwelcome authority figure, and they were all drunk and stoned. I wanted to tell Tony to smudge the houses well, but didn't think it was the time to do that and maybe he has already done it. The kids, Dash and Zoe, Ronan and Zander and Rene were running around, going down to the river with the freedom that only Hyampom kids have. There was some discussion by the parents about whether they would be careful near the river. "It's too cold to go in" was the reply " Are you crazy?", the teenagers said. Well use good judgement Una said to Ronan and off they ran. I was glad to see Tim and Una who I hadn't seen since Tim's mother died and I managed to get Meraid to relate to me by taking her hat and putting it on my head and exhanging a cracker for it. She was suddenly friendly. Just Anya's age.

It was a good day and a new day--the place is changing in fits and starts and I'm grateful to witness the permutations of the mountain village where I live.

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