When I first learned about intentional communities in 1976, 45 years ago, I was instantly attracted to the idea, and yearned to live in a community where people lived together in ways that enriched everyone.
I especially loved the idea of helping each other in so many ways so that people could fulfill their dreams of service. I wasn’t totally clear on what I wanted, but I knew that I wanted to learn all I could about how to live in community. And I wanted to start a community.
When my first husband and I moved to Jerusalem, Arkansas from North San Diego County, we were thrilled to be working with a couple and their two children so they could realize their dream of owning an organic blueberry farm. We had a tiny trailer on the north forty. The fact that we had no electricity, running water, or even heat in our trailer did not phase us. In fact, in so many ways we thrived living close to nature, often eating wild edibles such as huckleberries, persimmons and wild strawberries. But working 40 hours or so in exchange for only a tiny trailer, with little gratitude for our efforts, contributed to us wanting to move. Our dreams of cooperation were dashed when unresolved conflicts took place.
We were invited to be the caretakers of the newly-built community building in Chimes, AR where we were also the coordinators of one of the first natural foods coops in the region. We serviced about 10 buying clubs all over the Ozarks, many of which evolved into regular grocery stores. Those two years held much joy as we participated in community life where people lived in their own homes on their own land, but held weekly gatherings as well as many other events that could be held in the community building and elsewhere.
But a yearning for more material pleasures–like a tape recorder (yikes!) –inspired Cliff and I to return to California.
I need to take a pause here and do some grieving. This story is very sad to me. I will take this up later.