Thursday, January 31, 2008

Willow Catches a fish

i have a cool kid. Kids are an amazing crap shot, you dont know what kind you will get and you don't necessarily have that much control over how they come out (parents love to think that they do, but the other factors often overwhelm their efforts). i got lucky.

Willow has some wonderful primaries (people who regularly spend a couple hours a week with him, getting labor credits for this work in my communities elaborate work system). Yesterday, Trout took Willow to the pond with a fishing rod and some of our vegetarian sausage. They were going fishin'.

Our pond is tiny. Since it is principally for swimming, it was designed with upstream filters and catchment pools so it would not have fish in it. But life only being secondarily concerned with the will of man (sic), other things happened.

As Willow tells it, they put a small piece of soysage on to the hook, Trout did the casting and Willow pulled it in slowly. The did this a dozen times with no effect. Willow convinced Trout to pull the hook and afix a larger piece of soysage to the hook and within moments a fairly good size fished, probably a trout (no relations) was snagged. Willow pulled it in with great joy and mild trepidation.

When i arrived at dinner last night, they had already cooked and cleaned it and my son was in story telling heaven. He ran to me in the dining hall and demanded that i gues what had happened. Several people had already told me and my lack of surprise did not slow him down for a moment. He was up in my arms, animated and in full tale. His joy was infectious.

i ate a small piece of his first catch so i could be part of the history. Tasty.

i was fearful becoming a parent. Tho Hawina and i choose it very intentionally and added Sky as a co-parent after careful deliberation, i was unsure if it would work well in my manic life. In retrospect, it is perhaps the smartest thing i have ever done.

i dont advocate parenting for babylonians, but here on the commune, it has been an amazing experience. i am learning about intimacy by working with these small hands and listening to the gentle snoring of this cool kid. My kid, Willow.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Babylon and Avalon

Some dialects of progressive language have adopted the Rastafarian term "Babylon" to mean the oppressive establishment. The worlds first large city is emblematic of slavery it employed to build itself.
Myself and others are popularizing this term in the communities movement to mean "mainstream culture", as distinct from intentional (especially rural) communities.

i was thinking about this one day when i was visiting the Tekiah community in Floyd, Virginia. i was looking out the window on the lush forest and yard which surrounded the building i was in. "If the mainstream is Babylon, then what is the right name for us, who are intentionally moving away from it". And the name which hit me was Avalon.

Avalon is the mythical island retreat said to be of great beauty. In the important book, The Mists of Avalon, it exists in a parallel world. A world which was increasingly difficult to find, for its existence is dependent on people believing in its goddesses and gods, and these pagan beliefs were fading.

It felt an apt analogy for these rural income-sharing communities, often beautiful and remote. Many of which are vanishing, because the gods of urbanization and private property are so powerful. Tekiah is no more, thought the parent community, Abundant Dawn continues on.

i talked with my lover Tree on the phone tonight. She is working (with my co-dad Sky) with the fine folx at Dancing Rabbit community in Missouri, leading a skill share on group process and facilitating their annual retreat. She went to Missouri from her native Eugene, Oregon a couple of days early to visit a new community where our friends Ethan and Sarah live, another rural community based on service and simple living (e.g. not using petroleum products). Tree was thrilled to get picked up at the train station by a horse and buggy. Often feeling that the mechanical pace she moves at is too fast, this form of transport felt perfect. As did the hospitality of their super hero hosts.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Compersion, Quink and Pronoia

We are in the business of creating a new culture. Part of this is creating a new language. Turns out there are all kinds of words and concepts in English which are asymmetrically negative.

Jealousy is when you feel bad about your intimates relationship (or feared relationship) with someone else. What if you feel good about it ? There is a word, most people have never heard of it: compersion.

Quink is a word (coined by Tobias Kampf formerly known as Frodo) which is the opposite of trama, when a sudden and dramatic event permanently improves ones life.

Pronoia is the suspicion that the Universe is conspiring on your behalf. It is the antidote to paranoia. And has been popularized by my illusive friend Rob Brezsny.

Now with names for some of these positive concepts, try watching for them, dropping them into conversation (always ready to share the definition) and popularizing them.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dying at home

My father is dying. i can hear him coughing in the other room. He has Parkinson's, he's been diagnosed with it for a decade now. i have been spending more time with him recently, in an effort to spell my mother who is his primary care giver.

He is lucky. He worked hard and was successful over his life and now the medical establishment, which is so easy to be critical of in this country, is working hard for him. Because he has access to resources. It is not fair, of course. But it is the system we have, and for him and those who care for him, we are thankful. i guess it is not lucky - it is smart.

We have never been very close. My father, like me, defines himself by the things that he does. He was an architect, founded a firm with him name. And spent the vast majority of his waking hours building the firm, designing and creating beautiful buildings and houses, like the one he lives in. The one i grew up in. The one i am sitting in right now.

He focused on this one passion, i focus on many.