Sunday, October 16, 2005

Building with earth - ancient technology solving today's problems

Wanda Tucker (see comments under Evening Replay on October 6) intriguingly suggests that the semi-circular structure of the apartment complex in Jasper is reminiscent of the architecture of sites such as Chaco Canyon.

Wonderful idea! I am certainly influenced by the builders of Chaco and Mesa Verde, as well as by the mud-brick buildings of the Middle East, some of which have been standing for thousands of years.

The sensual properties of earthen structures, their graceful lines and earthy scent, nurture the body and spirit.

More, adobe, strawbale, and cob buildings withstand hurricanes and earthquakes very well.Materials are cheap and at hand, and anyone with a strong back can build them.

Interior image of Superadobe home from www.cal-earth.org website

The architect Nader Khalili, who has designed habitat for future NASA moon missions, has designed ingenious emergency housing, as well as beautiful homes such as the one in the photo to the left, and public facilities using earth rammed in sand bags. He calls his structures superadobe.

The technology to live gracefully, in harmony with Earth, in deeply comfortable and less costly environments exists today, as it has for millenia.

Earthen structures work well in a variety of climes. I first learned of cob when I read of a six-hundred year old cob house in England. They've been building them there for centuries. See these photos.

There is at least one cob house in rainy Oregon, and some folks in British Columbia give regular classes on building cob there. A good example is Kate's Cob - Mayne Island B.C..

Photo from Groundworks web site at www.cpros.com/~sequoia/cobhome.jpg

To learn how easy--or difficult--it is to build a cob home, check out the tale of this 72-year-old woman, Lois Lewis, who built her own home.

For a capsule view of cob use, read Michael Smith's essay, The History of Cob at Natural Building Colloquiem Southwest.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Evening replay

It seems I cannot move forward with Rose's next post until I noodle more with Evening. I'm not happy with it--the tempo is off. It's way too long. On reflection, an apartment complex constructed in concentric circles would take too much land, especially on a hillside sloping to a lake. Views would be lost.

The complex needs to be airy, open, and bring more of the forest from which it was hewn into the lives of the folk living there.

S suggests cutting the circles in half.

Of course! Arcs solve so many problems in architecture as well as landscaping. They evoke the circle, wholeness, openness to possibilities, to wind, to storm, to laughter. Arcs embrace without excluding. Thank you, S.

It may be a while before Evening lets me go.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Gaviotas - A real village

Ordinary exists! Or something very like it, and in the most inhospitable of places--Colombia.

Thirty-some years ago, Paolo Lugari, a native Colombian and son of an Italian immigrant, founded Gaviotas in the broad, inhospitable savannah of Colombia where soil is too full of iron to support food crops and the water table so deep that native populations were forced to drink fetid water much of the year.

At that time, water-borne bacteria killed more people in the savannah than the military, narctoics trafficers, and guerillas combined.

Gaviotas soon became a model experimental community of sustainability, cooperation, and ingenious inventions, including deep wells pumped by children riding teeter-totters, that are being used throughout the world to better the quality of life and lessen the impact of encroaching populations on surrounding environments.

More, Gaviotas has existed for more than three decades without locks, with no police force, with no mayor or city government, and without weapons in a no-man's land surrounded by shoot-to-kill army, guerillas, and paramilitary drug trafficers whose identical guns and camaflouge gear make them all but impossible to distinguish from one another.

More remarkable still, Gaviotas has accomplished the unexpected: they have regenerated rain forest where it had not stood for perhaps a thousand years.

But do not take my word for it. Read a transcript of reporter-author Alan Weisman's 1994 All Things Considered" National Public Radio story following his visit to the remote village. Better yet, read his book, Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World. It reads like a novel and is difficult to set aside.

If you are keen about sustainability, expect to be inspired and amazed.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Something wrong with this picture

A few weeks ago, a high school senior did what graduating students in her town do every year. She posed for her senior picture with a caged tiger. The tiger did what it had not done to seniors in years past. It attacked and killed her.

I grieve for this young woman, for her lost potential, for her family who loved her dearly.

To some it may seem inconceivable, but I grieve, too, for the tiger. The tiger did what wild, predatory animals do. So we killed it.

More and more frequently, we see images of caged animals, brought out for our entertainment, turning on someone and killing or maiming them. Or an animal escapes from its zoo or circus and, cornered and frightened, lashes out against its captors.

A few years ago, a circus elephant, said to be rampaging through the streets of the city in which it escaped, was killed as a preventive measure.

The runaway elephant, surrounded by traffic, shouting humans, and unfamiliar territory, was frightened and unpredictable. So we killed it.

We are fascinated by tigers, elephants, gorillas and roaring lions because they are wild. Why are we offended when they behave wildly. If we put ourselves in harms way, why do we punish the creature who behaved as we knew it might?

We kill them because we can no longer trust them not to kill or maim us.

We think of animals as less than humans, their lives more readily expendable than ours. Often we exploit them for their flesh, for their hide, for a gland we find useful medicinally.

We dare not think of them as sentient beings, capable of creativity and intelligence.

What about intelligence? Just how smart are the wild animals? We know that whales mourn their young and that dolphins use sponges as tools. (See Wanda Tucker's August 20 post, "Non-Human Emotional Intelligence" about a mother whale mourning her calf, and her July 10 post, "Take care of what you love," about dolphins who protect their delicate noses with sponges when rooting fish from the sand.)

From Jane Goodall's work, we have known for years that chipmanzees use tools as well.

John C. Lilly's work with bottlenose dolphins in the late Sixties and early Seventies pioneered the study of dolphins' ability to learn and communicate with language. (If you can get your hands on them, see his books The Mind of the Dolphin: A Non-Human Intelligence , and Communication Between Man andDolphin: The Possibilities of Talking With Other Species.

Still controversial, Lily's theories nevertheless spawned the Navy's use of dolphins as weapons, which is still occurring today.

Then there is Koko, the gorilla who learned sign language and communicates with her friends and handlers, celebrates birthdays and holidays, nurtures pet kittens, and participated in the first interspecies web-chat, the transcript for which suggests many questions about the relationship between a captive animal and the scientists who study them.

When we choose to interact with wild animals, animals whose bodies are built to tear, to dismember, to kill creatures as large as ourselves, we risk our very lives. Must we blame the animal when it behaves as it was made to behave?

I pray for peace and strength in the hearts of the family who miss their beloved daughter, sister, niece, grandchild. I pray they have memories of their darling to last a lifetime, and that through the miracle of grace and healing, their suffering is eased. They will feel this tragedy for the rest of their lives. I pray succor comes to them when they need it most, and again and again.

I pray we humans learn ever deeper respect for the creatures with whom we share this beautiful planet, and that we find it in our hearts to deepen our understanding of their lives and purpose here.

To all the individuals who devote their lives to the well-being of species not human, I give deepest gratitude.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Pay it forward

The vision of Ordinary is my sanity in an increasingly violent world. Sometimes, though, it is hard to keep the vision clear and near.

Not long ago, an old family friend was killed by her husband. There had been no history of abuse in the family according to news reports. The family tells us that the 72-year old retired professor who killed his soul-mate and wife of many years, herself a retiring professor, suffered from dementia.

It is terrifying to imagine that a disease of the brain could render me so senseless that I might bludgeon my dearest loved to death. How is this possible?

We are a culture that celebrates violence. Murder is the theme of at least one television show on the major networks (never mind cable), almost every hour. The more graphic and "real" the bloodletting, the better.

Ignore fiction, stick to real life, and all I have to do is watch the news or tune in online for a smorgasbord of war, drive-by shootings, and yes, extraordinary examples of family violence, over and over and over again.

These past weeks, I feel increasingly surrounded by violence. Bombings in Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, London. Gang-banger shootings on trains in my own city.

People are angry. People are greedy. People want to get even. People need control.

For some, so the television news magazines indicate in interviews with killers, violence is what they do, like picking their teeth or eating Cheetos.

Closer to home, though not so graphic--and therefore, not so entertaining--is emotional violence. A man I know, a good man trying to do the right thing for his company, recently demoted an employee because, he said, he felt his division had become "stagnant" and needed "shaking up."

The employee, loyal and dedicated, built his department from the ground up and must now train his successor. Had my friend attacked his employee physically, I doubt he could have done more damage. Will it help the bottom line? Will they grow bigger faster?

Look closer. Examine my own life. My bookshelves contain numerous who-done-its. I have read most of them, some more than once. A quick, easy read, I call it, when I want to escape. Imagine! I, who work for peace, escape to violence--to human hatred, betrayal, and loss--as entertainment.

Look closer still.

More and more, I am aware of the ways I participate in or choose violence on a daily basis.

Frequently, I jockey for position in the commuter train queue, making myself big to keep another from edging me from the front and center spot. If I am lucky today, that spot will get me on the train first so I can snare a rare open seat.

You think this a small thing? It is pure aggression and greed. When I become aware of my behavior in these moments, frequently my heart is racing, sometimes pumping so hard that my head hurts with each beat. Often, my fists are clenched, my jaw tight.

Too often, I sacrifice inner peace to create a personal advantage for a seat.

Friends and family argue that conflict is human nature, that it's in our genes, a hold-back to survival of the fittest, or simply a part of us because we are animals too, animals with teeth, brains to make weapons, instinct to guard our territory.

Perhaps that is true.

Perhaps that is a good excuse for choosing not to examine the way we do violence to ourselves and to others in our daily lives. After all, we have something other animals are believed not to have: free will and choice.

I'll tell you this. There have been plenty of times that I, bone-tired, got lucky and grabbed a seat on the train. Then someone shuffled on the train whose weariness was so deep, so profound, that I was up and offering my place almost without thought.

Not everytime, but often enough, they have responded with a gratitude that strengthened me, and I stood the twenty-to-thirty minute ride home energized, with a smile on my face.

Other times, I have been the one holding the bar with a fatigue so great it was all I could do not to swoon, and some individual has risen and said, "Please, take my seat. I'm getting off soon."

I wonder if they know what comfort their kindness brought, lasting long after the ride.

Kindness stays.

What was it that fellow said--"Pay it forward."

Kindness pays it forward.

You never know how far reaching a simple act of kindness in a rather mundane moment might be.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

When is a friend food--i

Do people eat meat in Ordinary? If they do, how do they obtain their meat? How does the community sustain joy if it must kill to sustain life?

What about clothing, shoes, heavy-duty straps, belts? Where do these things come from? Is wool gathered for warm winter sweaters against the fog-chilled air? Do people collect feathers for ornaments?

How do people who eat only vegetables and fruits work alongside people who love the taste of meat?

Do the meat-eating villagers eat only wild meat, caught by hunting? Do they raise animals for food? Who does the killing? Who butchers the animal, cleans the hide, gleans tools and collects the offal for fertilizer?

How do the villagers deal with the death of an animal?

These are some of the questions rocking around in my head as Rose began relating the story of Bonnie's death.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Building Ordinary ii

I'm struggling with a myriad of questions these last few weeks.

How big is Ordinary? How many people reside there? Does it have a hospital? What type of structures for observing spiritual practices exist? How much land does it take, per capita, to support the villagers? How much additional land is required between Ordinary and neighboring villages to assure a diverse ecosystem?

What materials do the people of Ordinary and surrounding villages use in their daily lives? What are their kettles made of? Where do their textiles come from?

Internet searches on "sustainable living" and "eco village" turn up a lot of hits, from Los Angeles to Ithaca, Australia to Colombia, Africa to Ireland.

All over the world, people are creating community in harmony with the land and the Earth's creatures. Some of these communities, like The Farm in Tennessee, have existed for years. Others, like Solto in Grohote, Island Solta, Yugoslavia, (see A Cluster of Eco-Villages) are still in planning stages.

It takes time, a lot of money, enormous commitment and dedication to bring people together in a common vision.

Underlying threads in most of the experimental villages I found online are: 1) to develop an environment where human beings live fulfilled lives in peaceful cooperation; 2) to respect and honor the environment, harming none and taking no more than they give; 3)to nurture individual spiritual and creative expression.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Learning from Ladakh

Given the violence of our age, the daily reminders of the myriad ways human beings torture and harm one another, it may be tempting to dismiss the peaceful land in which Rose lives as impossible. Luckily, there is a well-documented example of just such a society that has existed for thousands of years: Ladakh, a district in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Known as Little Tibet, Ladakh lies near the Tibetan border and adjacent to Pakistan. Until very recently, the Ladakhi lived extraordinarily peaceful lives, playing more than working, despite the harsh climate--or perhaps because of it, and enjoying a quality of life to which many of us might aspire.

As recently as 1975, when linguist Helena Norberg-Hodge first began living and working with the Ladakhi, they controlled their population, wasted nothing, built beautiful multistory homes that lasted hundreds of years, farmed and irrigated their lands with an economy that would put western farmers to shame, and had plenty of time left for long parties that lasted weeks.

At that time, and for years after, the Ladakhi were known for their incredibly happy countenances and nature. Conflict was rare. Chi choen, they would say when faced with an apparent dig or insult, "What's the point? Anyway, we have to live together." Tucked away in their remote Himalayan location, they were rarely ill, had an effective medical care system, and needed nothing from the outside world.

Although some adventurers had written of their travels in Ladakh, almost no one knew of the Ladakhi until Norberg-Hodge wrote of them in Book: Ancient Futures, Learning from LadakhAncient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, but it was inevitable that they would be discovered. With discovery would come western inoculation. The power of fast motorcycles, fast food, television, and glitzy toys wrapped in sunlight-reflecting cellophane is nearly impossible to resist. Could you? Resist, that is.

We westerners introduced a complex array of changes to the Ladakh culture, symbolized most dramatically perhaps in the presence of Barbie and GI Dolls, which are sold on the streets of their capital, Leh, and evidenced in the diseases, violence and crime that mark Ladakh cities and villages as never in the past.

Tourists scouting for ever more remote regions and unique societies will find them. They want modern conveniences, smooth roads and plenty of gasoline. They want cell phone towers and internet connections. They might want yellow arches and red and white spinning chicken buckets. They bring gadgets, photographs and technologies from their part of the world. Enamored of local crafts, they pay too little for textiles and curiosities, such as the ancient butter jars, handed down from mother to daughter for centuries, to be replaced with rusting tin cans. Homeward bound with their photo journals, travel diaries and rustic treasures, the tourists leave behind trash and desire--desire for a world that seems so much richer and more beautiful than the pristine, well-managed society of Ladakh.

Some of the tourists, though, take something much less tangible than a butter jar when they leave. Some take an understanding of a way of life so simple, yet so elegant, they can never forget. They, like Helena Norberg-Hodge, who, while never a tourist, is ever a student of the Ladakh, will devote a lifetime working to preserve a society from which we all must learn if we are to have any hope of surviving the next century.

Today, the Ladakh strive to recover from the gradual decline of their culture due to the encroachment of western "civilization." They are melding new technologies--such as solar powered generators to run the electricity with which they power their villages and homes--with old technologies--such as returning to the ancient farming practices which nourished them so well for so long and with much less cost in time as well as currency than the pricey herbicide- and pesticide-driven agriculture imported from the West.

The fact that the Ladakh existed so beautifully prior to our intervention gives me great hope that the world can learn from them. Norberg-Hodges' Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh inspired the Village of Ordinary. Not only is it revelatory, it's a good read. I encourage you to get a copy of your own, or borrow from the library, then come back and tell me what you think.

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This post revised 11/24/09, including the addition of the images.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Building Ordinary

I'm researching types of structures a village like Ordinary might have. Because sustainability is a hallmark of living in harmony with the earth, it is important the housing and community buildings be made of local materials.

Energy efficiency in construction is equally important. Homes and workplaces must be functional while providing a unique and delightful sense of place to their inhabitants.

The beautiful curved shapes of earthen structures such as cob, rammed earth, and adobe, all of which have been used for centuries, some for millenia, lend themselves very well to these guidelines. Straw bale buildings and conic shells offer good alternatives for architectural variety. Another innovative use of earth can be found in the Cal-Earth projects. There are so many more!

I invite the wisdom of others who have worked with sustainable building materials.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Reiki

The narrator of the Village of Ordinary practices Reiki, which in our time and place is a controversial alternative healing modality.

In the Village of Ordinary, Reiki is an accepted and well-used healing art. In this vision of peaceful cohabitation, I intend to explore the subtle ways animals and humans might communicate with one another if we understood more fully the unseen energy flows between us. Reiki is one vehicle for that.

One of the most informative websites I have found about Reiki can be found at Reiki--A Gift of Healing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ordinary changes

For a long time, I resisted posting the vision of Ordinary.

I do not yet live my life with the quiet wholeness of the village inhabitants and did not want to be a hypocrite.

More and more, though, I recognized that to live the life I dream, I must start somewhere.

Since I began working with Ordinary, I have found my choices are more often peaceful.

Frequently--not every time--but frequently, I catch myself before I use my sometimes caustic tongue in response to a hurtful moment.

Situations that tend to make me tense and uncomfortable are easier.

Example: I usually resist social events. But increasingly I enjoy them, seek them. Last night, at a business dinner with five others, none of whom are bosom buddies and each of whom I admire in some way, I basked in the glow of the simple conversation and the beauty in their faces.

A year ago, that dinner meeting would have been fraught with tension, and very likely I would have had a severe headache before the end of the evening.

This gives me hope that I can build a habit of responding to any situation with peace. And if I can do that, others can.

What do you think? How do you make peace in your life?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Why Ordinary?

All my life, I have dreamed of a place like Ordinary. A place where people live in perfect harmony with one another and the Earth. For a long time, I thought of this place as Utopia--a place I could go to in dreams, and never in reality.

After the events of 9-11, and again when our government declared war on Iraq, I began to spend a few moments every day visualizing a world at peace. At times it was very difficult. I felt so angry. It is hard to visualize peace when one is consumed with anger.

A wise woman once said, "Use your anger. Put it on your back and let it drive you."

While I do not wish to be driven by anger, I understand that anger can be a useful motivator. My anger made me more determined to be part of the solution. If I am to live in a peaceful world, I must imagine what that world would be.

Nothing is realized without first being visualized.

So rather than imagining Utopia, I began to imagine a very ordinary village, one of thousands of villages all over the world, where people live in harmony and joy.

Smart people. Happy people. Talented people. Responsible people. Self-actualized people. People who have strength and wisdom and courage. Who trust their bodies and their minds and their creativity. People who savor each moment for the joy inherent. People fully alive and awake. People who sleep very, very well at night.

What would a world like that be? How would we support ourselves? What would our homes be like? What would be a typical day in a typical, very ordinary, village?

That is the vision of the Village of Ordinary.

This is an experiment in developing a community of ordinary people working toward a peaceful society much like the Village of Ordinary, where all live in harmony. I invite you to participate in the vision. Use the comments feature to join the discussion and submit links to articles that show how ordinary people are building Ordinary today. If you have more to say than a comment will hold, submit a guest blog post.

Updated 09/26/09 to reflect changes in the direction of the blog.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Villagers of Ordinary

Below are each of the characters Rose has included in her journal to date. The names are listed in alphabetical order, followed by the post title in which they first appeared and the date of original post.

In time, I hope to learn ways to make the table easier to use and read. For now, it is what it is. Suggestions for improving the table are welcome and will be implemented as skill and time permit.

Name First appearance in journal Date of first appearance Information
Annie Snow 12/13/2005 With her husband, Jefferson, and their extended family (so far identified only as “their brood”) Annie keeps a remote lodge nestled against a pristine alpine lake high in the Sierras to which villagers trek now and then for a change of scenery and, in winter, to play in the snow
Ariadne Tadpole 6/16/2006 Seven-year-old, budding biologist, interested in tadpole metamorphosis to frogs; parents not yet identified
Balboa Journey 9/9/2005 Daughter to Rose & Cheyenne, Beryl and Ronnie; marries Packer, whom she met five years before when she did service in the Village of Jasper, far north of Ordinary, where Beryl and Ronnie live.
Beryl Journey 9/9/2005 Partner to Ronnie, who whom he is father to Balboa and Jasmine; they combined their sperm before donating because they did not want to know who the biological father was; when the girls were teenagers, Beryl and Ronnie moved to the Village of Jasper to be with Beryl’s parents in their declining years
Bettina Mira 1/14/2007 Regional physician called in when Balboa begins to miscarry
Betty Sup 7/5/2005 Noah’s wife, mother of Jordan (introduced in "Babies" 2/7/2006 at thirteen-months), and the regional veterinarian.
Bonnie Bonnie 8/18/2005 Beloved cow who dies of old age after many years of service to the villagers
Cathy Journey 9/9/2005 Childhood friend of Rose’s daughter, Balboa; travels to Balboa & Packer’s wedding w/her partner Mitre, Rose, Merilee and Cheyenne
Cheyenne Wake 6/14/2005 Adept with guitar, keyboard, percussion instruments, Cheyenne is a student of the cello, and teaches music to the villagers; a natural musician, she instigates and is at the forefront of pageants, musicals, and other venues that bring out the performing artist in young, old and between; Cheyenne’s stage sets are legendary in their cleverness, simplicity, and beauty; the backdrop is her canvas (literally), and she is best known for her mandalas that focus audience attention without detracting from the players. Beloved partner to Rose, she is a basketmaker and playfully calls herself a “weed sculptor.”
David Sweat 8/4/2005 One of Ordinary’s gardeners, who works with Rose, Sena and other village agronimists.
Elizabeth Dance 9/15/2006 Teenager mutually infatuated with Jacob; no further description so far
Eloise Run 6/16/2005 Merilee's ancient Pekinese; likes to ambush passersby, barely grazing them with a darting paw, the surprise effect amplified with ferocious yelping
Jacob Gifts 7/1/2005 Jacob, 13-year old son of Jonathon and now-deceased Marita; possesses amazing rapport with animals and has the ability to call them when needed; once called insects to help with the crops.
Janine Chores 6/17/2005 One of four chief cooks in the village; known for her edible centerpieces, scented shampoos and other potions, and widely known for her weavings; expert in textiles and dyes; a master at maneuvering her wheelchair, frequently plays basketball; was injured as small child during an earthquake--she survived a debilitating tumble down a steep embankment;
Jasmine Journey 9/9/2005 Rose & Cheyenne’s daughter – not much known about her yet; daughter also to Beryl and Ronnie of the Village of Jasper; lives somewhere "across the ocean" with her husband and daughter (see "Mira" 1/14/2007);
Jason Nest 7/6/2005 Sixteen year-old wildly in love with Tawnya
Jefferson Snow 12/13/2005 With his wife, Annie, and their extended family (so far identified only as “their brood”) Annie keeps a remote lodge nestled against a pristine alpine lake high in the Sierras.
Jessica Rain 7/17/2005 Midwife, daughter of Margaret, mother to baby Rosalie, Rose's namesake, from whom she learned her craft; Description: Red hair, lithe dancer;
Jonathon Jacob 7/12/2005 Village smythie, works with domestic animals, supervises butchering upon natural death of an animal; father of Jacob, widower of Marita (Jacob's mother); coveted dance partner, known for superb grace and agililty on dance floor, despite bear-like physique
Jordan Babies! 2/7/2006 Thirteen-month-old, curly-headed son of Noah and Betty; already has four teeth
June Sit 6/15/2005 Kami’s twin; though their mother dressed them differently and deliberately gave them names without alliteration, June and Kami work as a team wherever they go; uncannily intuitive, they can usually tell you exactly what you are feeling, and likely where you lost your keys; this ability works best when they are together
Kami Sit 6/15/2005 Oldest of the twins by six minutes, Kami and her sister June are almost never separated; full of teenage mischief and ardor, they apprentice with Rose and Ruby, learning the healing arts and herbal lore; frequently, one or both accompany Rose when a villager is ill
Livia Rain 7/17/2005 Engaged to Peter (Sep 2005 wedding); in "Rain," the village built them a cob house; Merilee and Cheyenne assembled a crew of teens and kids to help with the detail sculpting and smoothing
Marita Gifts 7/1/2005 Deceased wife of Jonathon & mother of Jacob
Margaret Mira 1/14/2007 Midwife, mother of red-haired Jessica, who like her mother and grandmothers, carries on the midwifery tradition
Merilee Run 6/16/2005 Rose and Cheyenne’s neighbor across the path, Merilee teaches Yoga, swim, dance, and various innovative movement classes. Only 5’ tall, she is lithe and strong and can be counted on to show up whenever physical stamina and strength are required in the fields, in the workshops, or repairing a vehicle; an avid gardener, Merilee supplies fresh food to the communal kitchen; a potter and sculptor, she shares the art of revealing form within form with the children and any others who take her infrequent classes
Mira Mira 1/14/2007 Stillborn child of Balboa and Packer
Mitre Journey 9/9/2005 Cathy’s partner; travels to Balboa & Packer’s wedding w/Cathy, Rose, Merilee, and Cheyenne; grew up far to the north, where summer days are so long there is only an hour or two of darkness;
Murgatroid the Cat Wake 6/14/2005 A black, long-haired, bushy-tailed Persian-Siamese mix, Murg has the bluest eyes anyone ever saw; frequently assists Rose in Reiki treatments, follows her about the house and garden, scares away rodents without eating them, and purrs most loudly when Cheyenne plays her cello; whenever there is a sick child in Ordinary, Murgatroid finds her way to their bed and sleeps with them until they are well;
Nell Babies! 2/7/2006 Two-year-old
Noah Sup 7/5/2005 Village librarian, husband to Betty, the village veterinarian; father of Jordan (introduced in "Babies" 2/7/2006 at thirteen months); maintains print and electronic files containing literature, art, and music; also responsible for maintaining the historical archives, including collecting and compiling oral history, of which Rose’s journal is a part; Description: beautiful wide mouth, soft dark eyes; buttery-chocolate skin;
Old Apple Tree Dream 7/7/2005 The Old Apple Tree, oldest of all the orchard trees, was on the property when Rose's grandparents first came to the village
Packer Journey 9/9/2005 Marries Rose & Cheyenne’s daughter, Balboa; grew up in the high mountain country near the Village of Jasper; his parents chose to live in the wilderness, far from the village; large in girth and heart
Peter Rain 7/17/2005 Engaged to Livia (Sep 2005 wedding); the village built them a cob house in "Rain"; Merilee and Cheyenne assembled a crew of teens and kids to help with the detail sculpting and smoothing;
Ralph Run 6/16/2005 Red-haired and freckled nearly brown, Ralph is a master of the chi arts. Earliest of the early risers, Ralph is up by 4:00 every morning to meditate and practice Qi Gong; villagers take Ralph's classes in energy movement, beginning with the youngest as they begin their school day; Tai Chi and Qi Gong are the two favorites, and Ralph and Merilee frequently team-teach Yoga; Ralph lives behind the Lanai near the path through the park to Community Hall;
Rocky Waterfall 9/15/2005 Beryl’s widowed dad, a renowned botanist and avid gardener who woos Rose’s mother Ruby during the week of Balboa and Packer’s wedding in the Village of Jasper
Ronnie Journey 9/9/2005 Partner to Beryl, father with Beryl Cheyenne and Rose’s daughters, Balboa and Jasmine; when the girls were teenagers, Beryl and Ronnie moved to the Village of Jasper to be with Beryl’s parents in their declining years;
Rosalie Babies! 2/7/2006 Rose's namesake, baby daughter of Jessica
Rose Wake 6/14/2005 Journal keeper from whose viewpoint story is told; fifty-ish, mid-height, plump, more comfortable alone ith herself and her partner Cheyenne than in groups; spends much of her time in her garden, gathering herbs in the countryside, or “playing” as she calls her writing, artwork, and music; a student of the healing arts, she and her feline companion, Murgatroid the Cat, work with energy healing to ease suffering;
Ruby Rain 7/17/2005 Eighty-three year old mother of Rose; avid herbalist & gardener, she prefers the outdoors; Description: tall, big-boned, runs circles around Rose, so Rose claims
Sena Sweat 8/4/2005 One of Ordinary’s gardeners; works frequently with David and Rose; Description: Tawny skin and hair--nappy, trimmed close to scalp; fluid movements, sense of feline power; blue eyes; taller than Rose, who is 5’9”; big-boned and wide-hipped, with the grace of a mountain lion;
Tawnya Nest 7/6/2005 Deceased wife of Jonathon & mother of Jacob
Tracey Apology 6/24/2005 Twelve-year-old daughter of Merilee; neighbor to Rose & Cheyenne across the path; natural musician like Cheyenne; dabbles in guitar, violin, piano, and flute, and now shows special promise on the harp

Thursday, June 23, 2005

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