When I was young I lived in a college town on the rolling Androscoggin River for 3 and a half years which is a very long time for me to have lived in one place. When I got divorced 30 years later I moved back to that area from the mountains in the more rural western part of the state because it was convenient to the three small cities where I would be able to find work and because I still knew people there.
Strategically, I had gotten some free lance work in my field ( research, trainings, and consulting). I was going to many conferences and workshops in order to meet prospective employers. After 14 months I was attending a training workshop. A woman I had met there introduced me to someone who was opening a new company so I gave her my resume. The woman just happened to pass us as she was running errands in the neighborhood.
Things seemed to be unfolding as I had planned. Within a couple of months I had a job at this company. As is my custom I threw the tarot cards. Every love card in the deck came out along with good fortune. It was the happiest spread ever and had nothing to do with work. Hm. I had a friend throw the cards from a different deck and the same thing.
A few months later I found myself falling for some one at work. I started with an appreciation of perspective which was a little different than mine, practical, calm and insightful. Then there were silly things like disappearing dentures and lost keys. We went to lunch, my heart was doing jigs. We looked at my muffler which was falling off and we went to her house which was much closer for wire hangers and tools.
I am falling for a Virgo what is going on here. There was such a striking contrast between us the practical- the creative, the wise- the wild, the neat- the sloppy, the introvert-the extrovert. ….Not too mention a myriad of taboos. While I was getting the tools. I looked at the bookcase which very much reflected my own. We fixed the muffler and talked. Every word was so witty and wise although I can’t remember them I did finally say “you know you have to stop saying this in credibly witty stuff or I am going to have to start flirting with you. “ The response was you better not do that. I apologized. That was the mid November 1998.
With in three days we were dating and by the following Valentine’s day we shared a house. The ten miles of river was the distance between our childhood homes and ten is the amount of years our deep love flowed along that river. We were a very striking couple in that we had the bases covered because of the marvelous way we complimented each other. It was mystifying to some but it worked in the most incredible way. The greatest compliment from my love was that I had given such joy and fun where that had not been any. If that is the most I ever do on this planet I will be satisfied.
In mid November of 2008 my great love crossed over after a long illness at home as desired and several days of me saying that it was time now.
Perhaps you are wondering what I have been up to. I have been of course enjoying my activist leanings and looking for work. I have been taking two classes one on colored pencil drawing and one on heart centered meditation. A new writing group has captured my attention. Here is a piece I just posted.
My childhood was full of the moves associated with a military family. It is through these many changes and uprootings that I grew a gypsy spirit. It’s a way of seeing that is always stronger when there is a turning in my life. I think of it as a survival skill that comes out when needed. I had already moved 4 times in the same general part of the country. We were about to move again to an unfamiliar place when I first noticed it.
The summer before our move while my father was stationed in Okinawa and we were living near my grandparent's. A photograph of a smiling boy playing near the surf hung over the old mahaogany crib in the bedroom at the top of the stairs at the house my father grew up in. I had seen it before, but this time it spoke to me not in words per se but I could feel the handsome boy on the beach who looked to be close to my own age. It was a beautiful picture but I had a vcery bad feeling about it.
I asked my aunt who this was. She told me that it was my father as a child. She was unusually dismissive, I did not believe her and felt even sadder. One day after my fathers return. He was preparing the car for our cross country trip while I sat in the driveway, I had his un divided attention so I asked him about the picture. He too said that it was him as a child. I out and out said “Daddy don’t lie to me” and I described exactly where the picture hung in his family home. He told me that it was his younger brother Georgie. After some prodding, bit by bit he told me that he died in an accident as a child when he was 5. He was upset about talking about it so I did not ask any more questions. Later I found out that my father had only been 7 when their older brother accidentally ran over Georgie, while test driving a car. Dad and Georgie had been very close and I don’t think that my father ever got over that loss. This helped me understand my father better over the years and I am grateful for this.
The gypsy spirit was still with me that summer. The night before we moved to the strange new place, I dropped of to sleep and asked to see where we would be living. Sure enough in my sleep I flew over the new town, when we got there it was exactly as I had seen it.
I did describe the town to my dad before we got there.... Even though it tickles me, the gypsy spirit actually it is a very powerful tool and a peaceful type of protection. It helped me stand my ground against my father who had an angry streak and served me well in my youth when I traveled parts of the world by myself. Oh, sometimes it just serves to make my life a little more magical and fun. Other times it really has saved me from harm. Although there have been times when I knew I was walking into a risky situation and did so anyway, because I was confident that I could handle it. I am not sure that all this spiritual swashbuckling was ethically sound, but it sure was fun. I may have taught someone a lesson they needed to learn. My philosophy is we are here to have fun and if make we a difference that’s good too.
I can share some of those “I am reading you like a book so don’t cha be messing with me tales” and other stories where I met some pretty mystical travelers who maybe had a little more control over their powers and I could clearly recognize but I didn’t want to be messing with them. What brings up these musings on the gypsy spirit is that …I am now in a major transitional phase. Recent years may have dulled my edge a bit. Ten years ago, we found this marvelous hand hewn “tree house” hidden from the road in a clearing. It was not advertised in the paper the sign on the mysterious drive said for “sale by owner.” I kicked up the maple leaves on the decks to the song in my heart. I was about to receive some money from my share of a business. The timing was good and we bought it. It still makes my heart sing. Many animals cross the meadows, birches glow amid the pines and it has been a good place to raise a family. Since my youngest is a senior in high school and my sweetheart has moved on. I decided to take a heart centered meditation class as I prepare to make a decision on my next step.
Now I could always meditate from the heart, but I am most comfortable zoning out and flying around. I can be very grounded and still fly around. My teacher tells me to try to stay in my body and be more focused. I picked an unusual medicine card~ armadillo upset down. It is a card about protection shields and armor. There is a lot to that. On the surface, it could mean that I have been standing still for too long. Ten years is my record for staying in one place. In my case perhaps that is the challenge. I am still mulling it over. The time may not be quite ripe for a sudden physical change… though other changes are happening.Perhaps I will be able to come up with an outside the box way to travel and stay here. Time will tell.
When I started to think about Hippies. I thought about several of my friends who sell their work on etsy. These artists are both talented and out spoken and have the true hippy spirit whether they were there or not... I asked some of them what they thought about the hippy days and social justice. I got some great stories: The freethinkers team ( see eye of wonder in the side bar) got really excited and showed thier hippy spirit CabArray Martha a wise woman with a sparkly presence who facilitates the freethinkers lived in NYC In '62 in the East village. She attended the NYU Washington Square college of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I used to hang out at a coffee house in Greenwich Village almost every day. She probably rubbed elbows with Bobby Dylan back in the day. spongetta says: In '72 I was a year old born to a couple who moved to the Catskills to afford land and live a sustainable life,yet to this day, claim they were never hippies. realisationcreations who is from Australia obviously says: My Dad told me this great story when he came and stayed at our place recently, about how he and my Mum met. They were both quite young, but were leaving behind failed relationships by travelling by train to the furthest place away from Adelaide/Melbourne that they could think of - which was Perth. When on the train they bonded over the fact that a man was making rascist jokes about the Vietnam War - my Mum and Dad had only met, but they were the only two that didn't laugh. A day later, they reached Perth, and went out for a beer. It was really crowded on 3 sides of this bar, but one side was clear, so Mum and Dad walked up to the clear side and ordered a beer. The barman looked at them and said: "You realise you're on the boong side?" (Boong was/is a pejorative term for our indigenous Australians - the Aboriginals). Dad was stunned and asked him to repeat it, which he did. This was not happening in the other major cities at the time, but Perth was somewhat isolated. My Mum and Dad were shocked, and Dad turned around to the Aboriginals who were drinking there, and asked: "Do you mind if we drink with you". The reply was: "Yeah, no problems mate. Go ahead and drink with us". My Dad told me that Mum later said that that was the moment she fell in love with him. zephi says: I was there in spirit, Suz ;) That’s for sure check out Tori’s blog as well as her shop! The link is to the side. beachcomberscove who was one of the very first people who came to mind when I thought of etsy hippies had this to say I afraid I was/am more of a wannabe hippie. I was in college 66-71; did have some semi-hippie friends in the art dept. BUT, (sheepishly admitting) it was a Baptist school so we weren't very wild. But compared to the ministerial students, we were a little crazy:D (artsy). Oh yeah but ahe came out of the closet since. Kymsart777 describes a home simlar to mine only I raised 3 artsy activist types In 72...I was 10. Born in 1962 but a hippie at heart for my whole life. I am the proud parent of 4 Artsy, Fartsy, Dreadlock wearing, birkenstock, freethinking, long haired hippie kids! Thank goodness! I sit here in a peace sign tee as I type. AltheaP whose work I admire greatly tells this tale: 'There's a generation of Native people here who were taken from their parents and put into "Indian schools" in the hopes of turning them into Baptists. Actually, we lived in small town North Carolina when we first moved south and more than once, we were congratulated by strangers for "bringing little heathens into our home." My kids are Korean, and I guess the assumption was we'd brought them here to Christianize them.'
Maine was always a hippie destination with its ragged coast, less expensive inland farm tracts. Communes cropped up every where and are cropping up once again as people are feeling the crunch.
One of the first Maine hippies that came to mind was Bob Matus. Originally from greater NYC. He lived in the bay area back in THE day before moving to the Maine coast. A local Maine poet Gary Lawless remembers him making pine needle baskets out in the bay area now he carves really cool wooden items. heroncovewoodcarving says: …a while back you mentioned my pine needle baskets ... I HAVEN'T been doing those for longer than most of this team has been alive,lol but I recently heard from an old friend on facebook who says she still uses the pine needle coaster I gave her over 30 years ago! Lizzyoos A boogying, tie dying woman says: Oh I wasn't ( a hippy then)then but have been since and I would love to join in... let me know I have lived the life and lifestyle since and always will.... I never stopped doing tie dyes either. You'll find beautiful hand dyed silk neckties and silk scarves at reasonable prices and she even throws tie dying parties and rock concerts. Yeah she has connections when she isn't dipping cloth, she is a dj. SO visit my all free wheeling hippie friends on etsy!
When asked about the hippy days, Chris Bettini the talented maille artist behind IkowDesigns: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5288811 said ‘I was 3 years old in '72, but my mom tells me I was all out the hippies. She said I used to go around doing the peace sign and saying "two peaces (pieces)".’ Wayne Elkin, a self described aging hippy posted a picture of a peace sign on a barn in Marin. In the past two days, I have received e mails on the Department of Peace and an Art Czar in Washington. Well FAR OUT. Hippy days are here again! This warms my old rabble rousing heart. There is a new awakening in our country, where a voice means more than just going to the polls on election day and sitting back with your arms crossed over your chest. These extraordinary times call for a more than a wait and see attitude. It is time to take it to the streets or to the internet, shout it from the roof tops. We want change. What does that look like? This is yes, a peaceful revolution maybe even an evolution. We can’t just elect leaders and leave them out there without direction… waiting for them to mess up. We have to participate more and we have been offered that chance, in fact reminded of our rights to free speech by our president a man steeped in the traditions of grassroots community organizing. It is good to be reminded because free speech in this country is largely taken for granted. There are places in this world where people lose their lives engaging in free speech. There have been times when our free speech here has been threatened by say the patriot act and McCarthyism. Free speech is a hard won right and deserves to be valued more. After speaking with friends, relatives, and townspeople as well as looking at on line blogs and NINGS, I have come to the conclusion that your average citizen does not know what true democracy looks like. Maybe that’s because we actually live in a republic here in the US or at least that is what I have heard over the years. The average person needs to look back to when people were speaking out more visibly at :sit ins, marches, letter writing campaigns. Give your ideas flight! We have permission to engage in a true democracy. Carpe Diem . Yes now that the universal pendulum is swinging back to a more liberal and creative space, that decries the greedy excesses of top executives and the madness of senseless wars. Throw off weighty mantle of W’s fear driven regime and the decades of complacency. Louise Dunlap, in her book Undoing the Silence: six tools for social change writing , likens these times to those of the early 60’s where people are once again finding their voice. I believe that when hope and change come to the fore, empowerment and joy are definitely close behind. We can end the wars, we can bring respect for the arts back. We can build a greater sense of community. The new optimism in the air has given us a new responsibility to speak to power and actually be heard. After all it is not exactly peaches and cream. The economy is far from pretty but our collective spirit is richer and unshackled. Fear does lurk in surprising places. There are many concerns and a lot of work to be done. It is up to us to help find solutions to situations that need to be set right. The people that we elected to represent us are just that. We are in charge of them, they are not in charge of us. Sounds childish but sometimes the simplest things are the truest. I think that we can move beyond our collective fears and repair injustices. It is a healing process for society as a whole. While it is very tempting just to ride this joyous wave while the energy is fresh. Responsibly, we must use this power to repair the damage and move to another level. It isn’t easy to change a nation, a world but now is a really good time to try. The guys and gals we have elected can’t do it alone they need our voice as cheerleaders and informed citizens. Once upon a time peace was not an outlandish notion and art was not a bunch of nonsense. That time is now. Speak out! Speak up! Call your representatives tell them what you support and what you don‘t support. Go to these house meetings sponsored by the Democratic National Party or if you think that’s too partisan (I am a die hard independent voter myself), make up ones of your own design. But do gather, put your heads together for the changes you think are needed. We the People are empowered.
From my treehouse in midcoast Maine I make pinatas and other delightful concoctions which I sell to any one who is interested. I am proofing my first collection of writings this week. I am currently a freelance case manager in Maine.