Whoa. So, Mike Oehler hey. Whoa. It's been 24 hours since we left his property, and I am still high on inspiration and awe. I have seen pictures and video of underground homes, hobbits holes, and earthen structures, but I've never seen them for my own eyes; felt them with my whole being. It is as though I just accelerated my evolution by a dozen years, and it feels fantastic. Thank you Mike for the life altering download.
Our trip to Oehler's kinda ties this post in with a podcast we did around the table in Jocelyn and Paul's kitchen to discuss Ant Village shtuff. We spoke into a black red eyed Cyclops, and apparently y'all will hear it later.
It was fun to hear everyone speak of their plans, needs, and desires for the village, and by the end I nearly forgot that it was all being recorded. Before the recorder went on, we brainstormed some topics to bring up, and I chimed in with a '10 year vision' for whakt this place could be like that. My 10 year vision, and every thing else, sits in my mind as pictures, symbols, and feelings, so when Paul asked me what my vision was, I sat there bug eyed and said something to the equivalent of 'urm ah durrr', which really did not do my imagination any justice. So I want to hash it out now.
The answering of this question coincides beautifully with the trip to Mike's place, as it gives my imagination some tangibility, making it easier to write it out now.
This is probably more of a 20-30-40, ah more of a 60 year vision, a place in time I would like my children to raise their children.
It's story time! And to start out....
If not for the sounds of a hammer in the distance and the chatter of young voices in amongst the trees, at first glance it would appear that no one lived here. From the road, the untrained eyed would take in the canopy of trees and hills of flowers and foliage, and marvel at mother earth's ingenious design. With closer inspection, the same visitor would begin to recognize the orbs of fruit and nut hanging off branches, of bushes teeming with berries that shine, and an array of medicinal and edible flowers, and herbs. Walking the road, one comes to a wide well traveled path that juts to the right, shaded and lined with more of the same; trees and hills (y'all call them berms), food and forage. As one walks farther down the path, a hand carved sign announces that the traveller has come home, and welcome.
Around a bend, the path opens up and a stunning view of plants growing in spirals in amongst a shallow creek captivate the senses, and only the glint of reflecting sunshine gives way to the fact that embankment to the right is not just a hill, but a home. Windows of all kinds of shapes and sizes speckle the earth, and a large doorway nearly visible is covered by a pergola overgrown with fruiting vines giving clues as to where best to knock and receive greetings.
Unbeknownst to the visitor, the inhabitant of said house, me, saw them coming, having watched them approach from the vantage of the yoga and meditation platform high up in the trees.
"Hellooo! I'll be right down!"
A quick zip down, and I am faced with a forlorn traveler, gaunt with hunger and fatigue, eyes sparkling with life and wonder.
"We have been expecting you!" I quip, though both the traveler and I know that this is entirely impossible. No one has ever come down that path without divine assistance though, and I know no accident when one comes upon my door.
A warm embrace, and a hand baring fruit, I offer the traveler my trust and welcome them to drop their well worn bag and offer them a brief tour, guiding them down the path that runs along the creek. The incline is gradual until the end, where the shallow creek makes way to a deep dark pond, hollowed out by work done decades prior, and I point to the falling water from the far bank.
"The shower is over there, the water is quite warm at this time of year. We like to use the flat rock to sun dry, and feel free to take rest in the hammock beneath the oak while I let the others know you have arrived. The water fall is yours for the drinking, and if you look around you'll see plenty of fruit to eat. Lunch will be ready when the sun moves just behind that rock ledge. All paths lead to the village centre eventually, do come when you are ready."
I offer the traveler a wooden bowl and a simple robe, and leave them to their own to rinse the road from their hair. As I make my way back down the path I look over my shoulder and see their sun bronzed body already floating in the water. Mmm, having been there before, I can interpret their body language as utter peace and contentment.
I walk down the path, and instead of following it back to my home, I take a right at the alter of rock, sage, bone and crystal, and sprinkle petals on it from the bloom of wild flowers I had past by the creek. The alter is in a perpetual flow of change, telling the story of who had last visited it.
The path meanders through large trunked trees, and the singsong of birds accompany me as I make my way to the village circle. As I get closer, the sounds of activity become audible, and I remember that today is market day, and the village people will be out trading their wares to their neighbours.
"...and my sandals are near worn out, so I could trade you a week's worth of eggs for another pair."
"...I could use a hand making more preserves in a few days. Why don't you come by for a day, and you can take a few of these jars now."
Children are running about with gooey remnants of treats on their mouth, and people are under pergolas and wandering about looking to trade, unhurried and content to take their day of rest.
I walk through the circle, sharing smiles, hugs, and kisses from friends and lovers, though it is obvious that I am walking with purpose, and I am not postponed in making it to my destination to the great hall.
The great hall is a shining beacon and unlike my home, it is only half encloacked in earth, with a large front porch and decks jutting out from each of the 3 floors. I can see faces through the windows, and can tell that the elders are preparing to sit down and meet. A perfect time to let them know of our newest addition.
I walk up the porch, greeted with a tiny hug around my legs by a few of the children, and enter into an expansive room. After all of these years, it can still take my breath away.
Mosaics of bright tiles, wooden beams etched with designs, and paintings of the week tell the story of the people, and the shafts of sunlight illuminate the craft of care full hands. The elders are sat in a circle in the far left of the room, comfortable on patchwork pillows stuffed with buckwheat and rice hulls, and it is obvious that they had just finished their yoga routine given their flushed and vibrant faces.
I fill them in with the pertinents, and one of the elders feels called to take the traveler under their wing, to feed and house them, until they are on their feet.
Not to disturb their meeting space for long I take my leave and make my way up the spiraling staircase to one of my favourite spaces in the village. The library. It is both quiet and exuberant at the same time, with students milling around tables discussing their work of days prior, and others lounging with books, pads and pencils, lost in thought. The book shelves are brimming with wisdom, but I know which one I am there for, and find it easily. It is creased and dog eared, a community favourite, and I look forward to sharing it with the traveler, "The kin of Ata are waiting for you". Surely a great story to curl up to and find understanding.
I see a few of my students studying, astronomy and astrology books in a colourful array of symbols and imagery, and I smile wondering what passionate discussion will take place in lesson tomorrow evening at the setting sun. It's not required that any of them attend, and lessons are opened to all ages, thus those who convene are wholly present and ready to share and learn.
It seems that most of the village comes by the education center at some point every day, though it is most often filled with young people, and those new to the village. The mission is to insure everyone who wants to is equipped to create a life for themselves, to go out into the world and forge their own path, and continue to spread awareness and knowledge. For every body that stays and lives out the rest of their lives at the village, we hope 2 will leave and create another home. Rainbow Warriors in training.
I smile and wave at the group, and head back down into the main hall and out into the sunshine. Judging by the change of energy and the current of people heading down pathways, lunch will be served soon. The village does not always eat together at every meal, but on market days, rest days, harvest, and special occasions, everyone who wishes to gathers to break bread and catch up with each other on the going ons. For a community so tightly knit, it is not uncommon to only socialize during meals and events. As all roads and paths lead to the centre, those same paths lead in the opposite direction to peoples homes. It is well known that home is sacred, and those boundaries are respected.
I see a lover of mine who I haven't connected with in days, and I am grateful to cross paths with them. Their eyes share the same, and we walk leisurely hand in hand until we can deviate from the main path, and on to another where we can lay near the creek on a well shaded hammock. We fill each other in on what is new until talk turns to silent cuddles, and we soak up this space in time which is all ours to share. We don't have to see each other every day to share love now, and there are no expectations to place upon each other for the next time.
A rumbling belly reminds us not to dilly dally for too long, lunch waits for no-one, and we lazily get up and get moving. As quickly as we came together, we kiss our goodbyes and make space for the rest of the day to unfold. Shared meal times is always highly energetic, and it is not long before I am swept away into yet another loved one's arms, with laughter and delight, and we take a seat at one of the many big round tables outside near the kitchen. I look around the table at all of the faces I have known so well, and give a silent thanks.
And the feast! It is always a bountiful feast, with everything placed in the middle of tables, arranged in a cornucopia of colours and texture. Everything on the table was produced, grown, made,and harvested by the people, and we take in the nourishment through our eyes first, beginning digestion before it even reaches our mouths.
We give thanks to all of life for its offerings, and with eye contact give acknowledgment to all that sit around us for their contribution to the whole. When two eyes, real eyes, realize.
Woooo ok, that is going to have to be part one. It's been a great exercise putting my vision into words. More to come tomorrow.