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Light Morning has, over the years, passed through several developmental stages. There was an early era of living in tents year-round. Then came a decades-long focus on raising food, families, and awareness within the context of an intentional community. Now Light Morning is moving into a stage that is clearly post-communal; and possibly pre-crew.

The distinction between community and crew goes back to our founding vision. Live close to the Earth, we were told, in a new kind of family, in order to embark upon a transformational journey. The back-to-the-land communal lifestyle, in other words, was to be as a sailing vessel and its crew, bound for a more distant, less tangible destination.

Those coming to Light Morning later, however, mostly saw themselves as being homesteaders and/or community members. But whenever the unavoidable heavy seas and gale force winds would arise, these newcomers rarely had the inclination, training, or stamina to serve as crew.

Shifting metaphors, Light Morning’s current developmental stage might almost be considered monastic. We aren’t affiliated, of course, with a religious order. We don’t shave our heads, put on robes, or take vows. Nor do we shun couples and children. Yet for many a tumultuous century–in the east as well as the west–monasteries have been places of refuge. Above all, they have been practical, contemplative, and welcoming. These three monastic values, moreover, are closely aligned both with Light Morning’s DNA and with its present sense of direction.

Practical – by pioneering post peak petroleum homesteading. Modern industrial civilization, not to mention the comfortable lifestyles that most of us take for granted, has been powered and made possible by the cheap, abundant energy provided by fossil fuels. Yet easy access to these dwindling reserves of coal, petroleum, and natural gas is already becoming problematic. The road ahead will therefore likely see ongoing resource depletion, deepening environmental and climatological degradation, and economic contraction. Sensing this probable future, some people are choosing to simplify their needs, disengage from the cash-intensive economy, and pursue more sustainable alternatives.

Contemplative – by cultivating reliable inner guidance. We begin by acknowledging (or at least hypothesizing) an inward Presence as a potential source of guidance and support. With work and discernment this wellspring is slowly developed and clarified, allowing the guidance to be increasingly felt and followed. We ripen into such a radical acquiescence by establishing a strong meditation practice; by tuning in to the tidal insights of dreams; and by harnessing the power of prayer.

Welcoming – by serving as a way station on the new underground railroad. Light Morning strives to honor and respect the other creatures with whom we share this land. We likewise offer hospitality to family, friends, and neighbors. And we welcome those wayward ones made homeless, as it were, by a migratory impulse; and/or by the dawning realization that their lives are becoming perilously sterile.

If you’re drawn to explore these three core values (and perhaps crew for a while), Light Morning is open to visitors and interns during the warmer months of the year. Those of us who live here are gradually learning to call these Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia home; to call the still-unfolding dream that drew us here home; to call the numinous present moment home. A wandering poet from the Tokugawa era of Japan put it this way: “Each day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

We wish you well on your journey.