By now, you would think at age of 66 I would have some idea of who or what I am. Sometimes I am a fish swimming into the arms of death. Others a dream shaking with shakti from meditating and kriyas. As usual the idiot grammar police are slowing down the flow of writing, simply because the computer dictionary thinks it knows what words I want, but doesn’t. There should be a broader outlook in computer dictionaries for those of us who have large vocabularies and might use an unfamiliar word or two.
At the moment it is piercingly dark outside, but I can’t see the moon because although Mt. Pleasant is a small rural community, there are all sorts of lights left on that flash red or sparkle in waking windows as people ready themselves for work. On rare nights a few lonely planets or stars manage to work their way through the local night distractions.
One thing that I have been is a hippie, which usually draws smiles and questions when I mention it, and I did live in a commune once, for about 9 months, in upstate New York with 4 other friends. Cole, Gretchen, Eric Rose, (my boyfriend at the time), myself, and Gretchen’s boyfriend whose name I have unfortunately forgotten. If I were still able to track down any of these friends, I would include his name, because he was our best organizer and planner and an unfortunate romantic. We also had friends who would occasionally drop in and spend the night.
Gretchen was a poet and had been a good friend of one of the original founders of the Rolling Stone. He had actually been in love with her, but she didn’t want to marry. Her lovely boyfriend was also a poet and actually had a job of some sort and a car. Otherwise we would have had to hitchhike all of the time instead of just occasionally.
Cole was creative in every way possible and while we lived together, he taught me how to macrame and I created purses, wall hangings, and crocheted hats and sold beaded necklaces. Cole created a hand tied leather dress that appeared in Women’s Wear Daily, when that was a big deal. When he moved to San Francisco, he even sold his originals to Bloomingdales, but that didn’t last for long, because he was an artist not a businessman and couldn’t keep up with all the demands of that side of the business. He did sell his work in San Francisco and even to a rock singer. I can’t remember her name, but one of her early hits was “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”.
Eric and I would go to the streets in Manhattan that contained shops for leather goods, beads and other needs for the crafty or would be artists. His purses were one of a kind and sold quickly, no one else ever made them like he did. He created a pattern and the purses were braided together or (I’m not sure about this, sewn…as sewing leather can be very tricky). They were also very colorful.
We lived in a place called Mongaup Valley a little area, not far away from the newly opening racetrack in that area and also a very small town near by which had an actual grocery store. Mongaup Valley was noted for its abandoned homes with old canning bottles, and many other treasures left behind by former residents of the area. This was upstate New York and the land was rolling hills. We did have a small country store which had a rooster that proudly crowed any time someone walked by. Needless to say, we had a few sleepless nights.
I think we moved there in the middle of the winter because we only existed for about 3/4s of the year. We had group meetings and each person was responsible for paying a part of the bills. We also had two pet cats. One had short black fur and yellow golden eyes. Her name was Amber. She was one of my two favorite cats because she seemed to be so sensitive to each of us and would appear at the perfect moment when you needed to hear a friendly purr. The second cat was Botch a galoop, named after some character in an old movie with Abbot and Costello. When I moved to NYCity, it was the first time I saw old movies with the Marx Brothers, and Abbot and Costello.
We were also near Woodstock (the event, not the town where Dylan lived for awhile), which I think all 5 of us had attended the previous year. We used to hitchhike to Yasgur’s farm and go swimming in this little pond which had quite an undertow with a line of the most luscious and large blueberries growing on the far side that I have ever seen. The owner liked hippies, and allowed occasional visits to swim in this little pond like area that connected to a larger area of water. Along the way to the far side of the pond was a strong undertow, but the trip was worth the risk if you were a good swimmer because the blueberries were the size of large grapes and tasted better than any I had ever eaten before or since, except a few of the ground growing wild blueberries that I found in the woods and a rural bed and breakfast inn in Vermont.
In the fields where we danced slept and slid at Woodstock the previous year were rows and rows of corn growing almost as thickly as the crowd had been. It had been muddy slippery hot and a several hours long wait for those of us who showed up for Woodstock. The people who planned the festival must not have expected the crowd, because they ended up so overwhelmed that anyone who had not already bought tickets was let in free. The music was great, but I only lasted about a day and a half before I left to go sleep in a Howard Johnson’s and head back to NY with my boyfriend, his best friend and the friend’s nutty girlfriend whose name I probably forgot on purpose, because her greatest accomplishments seemed to be staying high on pills and hard boiling eggs….a subject of which she was a sheer genius at prolonging a needless conversation.
Back in Manhattan, Eric and I and maybe Cole hooked up with Gretchen and we discussed the commune idea…I think we may have met her boyfriend who was living upstate and had found a house. We shared the house he found with a couple and their daughter, who lived upstairs.
I decided to follow up on this with a list of short tails and incidents which I will be adding over time.
Here are the ones I have thought of so far:
Arcana XIII (Tarot cards and readings)
I suppose some of you remember what Tarot cards are and used them to find out what the future held for you.(Or so many of thought though with skepticism) When living in Mongaup Valley, NY we would go into a town slightly larger than the one we lived in to buy groceries, look for jobs, etc. I think that is how Daniel(the member who’s name I can’t recall) met James and his sister and brought them over to visit. I wasn’t around the first time they came for a visit. But I was there a second time and we gave James the deck of cards and asked him to find the one that he found most interesting. He pulled out the card with an inverted cross holding a crucified man. We told him that this card could mean a change in the course of life rather than a literal death. We sat around discussing possibilities for awhile, and then he had to leave, but was to come back next week for another visit.
For a few weeks we didn’t know what had happened, but his sister finally showed up and she told us that the week after we had seen him he had been mowing the yard with a riding mower in a ditch, and the mower had toppled onto him and killed him.
(Short note, I am relying on my memory of incidents that happened over 40 years ago, so I am inserting names to make the discourse smoother, but the gist of the story is true and accurate. I will be revising this and the others as I sketch them in, to improve the quality and functionality of the stories)
Finding water with your feet
The ruins of old settlers homes
Blackberries, red berries in trees, gooseberries, wild rhubarb, alpine like wild strawberries at the racetrack
Eating worms and grubs according to townspeople’s gossip
Being offered a job if I was willing to try on clothes
Being fired at the racetrack as a waitress, for not wearing enough makeup
Sitting on the warm stones at the riverside
Finding peace at a quiet pond and a large platform(bigger than a kingsize bed
The complete blocking of the sun midday, by the moon total eclipse and our walk among the lost and meandering tv antennas
All the springtime rivulets and sitting among them on rocks and grassy slopes
LSD and the communion with nature, feeling the life of trees
born, lived, cried, appreciated, lost, found, lived, laughed, flew in my dreams,
taught others to fly in their dreams, became a telescope reflecting the stars,
dove to the depths of despair ,recovered and walked along the beach as the water escaped from the sea and erased my footprints.