Saturday, November 21, 2009
One of my big attractions to Twin Oaks is that it is a place which inspires people to do things that other people are not even thinking about doing. To do things which some people think are impossible or at least incomprehensible. Caroline and Keyvah are doing such a thing today. Pairs of women get hitched all the time these days, but like their heterosexual counterparts, their primary motivation is their romantic connection to each other and secondary is their desire to have family together.
Both of these amazing women are key players in my son, Willow's life. And as only a parent can, i see their influence on him, Caroline's theatrics in the quirky YouTube videos they make together, Keyvah's "bored kid does complex math" tricks. And in a kind of spooky transference, Willow now seems to be able to tell when i am going to leave the room, moments before i actually get up and go - an art Caroline and Keyvah perfected sometime back.
And through this unorthodox home schooling they have built something Caroline coined "Framily". A fusion of friends and family. It turns out that the Nigerian proverb is right and it takes a village to raise a kid. But unlike the politicians and educators who spout this phrase i have seen it happen with my son and these wonderful women and our fluidly designed framily.
And i am excited to be on this journey with them and know they will help guide their own extraordinary kids.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
There was an irreversible turning point. And this is what funologists hunt.
Sabrina had been dragged away from reading her book to come to the party which was happening in the compost cafe (the small smokers lounge in the courtyard of the community). Firefly got her, apparently promising there was dancing. What there was was a lovely collection of mostly young people and mostly oakers. The few outsiders were Adam who had lived at East Wind and is well liked and appreciated here and Sara Tansey who seems to have nearly everyone fall in love with her nearly everywhere she goes.
"There is not even any dancing. You got me out of bed for this?" Sabrina complains in a whine that is so uncharacteristic of her normal stoic nature, the universe tilts.
"We absolutely did" replies Shiloh and within a minute almost all the room is standing and Sparkles ipod shuffle has taken over the sound system and dancing ensues.
Trout is anxious for another game of chess with me, when the music tones down a bit he asks if i am willing to leave the party. But i can not "This is a funologists wet dream" i say, certain that i will be misunderstood and mocked. And immediately i am.
But what makes it so funologically important is that it is a nearly perfect party, intimate, intense, highly inexpensive (accepted visitor Hale - who is tall and Nordic and charming and 27 - bought a case of cheap Mexican beer and one of Miller high life), spontaneous, simple/elegant and triggered.
But from this funologist perspective it may be triggered that is the most important piece. The talking and minimal milling and cuddling/massaging before the dance portion was nice. but what brought up the energy and added enchantment was the dancing. Bean, Firefly, Louisa, Foxx, Rusty, Sara, Shiloh, Jason (unusually), Trout, Sabrina and Mushroom make a strikingly telegenic lot bogeying. Biddy, Benji, Andy, Hale and i were more peripheral to the dancing, yet somehow holding the space for the others. And there is no way film can catch this tight, tangled event. Despite how crowded it is the group does not want to move to larger space - moving would break something and the compressed space gives it an added air of impossibility.
We are, in fact, building the better party.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Six years ago a specialist told Danele, who had just been diagnosed with Cushing's disease, that she had six months to live. Danele was having none of it.
A couple weeks ago Danele passed. Shiloh and Kate, who were part of the team which took care of her in her last days, said that she was the funniest and liveliest she had ever been in those last days. [When Kate offered her a straw to help her drink, replied "nothing says invalid like a straw."]
Danele and i were lovers in the first year i was at Twin Oaks, over a decade ago now. i was given back all the love letters i wrote her yesterday, a little stack of carefully scripted cards, chronicling our unlikely connection.
We had the memorial service for Danele today here at Twin Oaks. She would have been pleased. i managed to miss most of the event because i got up early and rescued a bunch of folding chairs from a rocking church in Richmond in the pouring rain and ended up restarting my illness. [i do sick badly, so i do it little.]
What i will remember of Danele is her fierce loyalty, her expansive heart, the silky scarfs she always carried, her quirky wit, her adventurous spirit and her tenacity.