Letters From Light Morning: 3 — Spring 1975

April 1975

Our neighbor Dan
Our neighbor Dan

Our neighbor, Dan, was over yesterday to plow. There was a last-minute scurrying around to move sawdust piles, transplant favored weeds, rope off the rhubarb, harvest a little doomed catnip for some addicted cat friends, etc. We’ll soon be tearing down the old house part way to the mailbox. We’ll get half the lumber, the owner gets the rest. Flooring for our new kitchen, and maybe a wall or two. The woodshed is begun. Gone is the peace of winter, but in its place is the sense of a lively awakening, a new beginning. The seasons complement one another; a gentle succession of moods.

* * *

Eventually, no doubt, we will be working more with active and passive solar energy and hydroponics and many similar things that other people are into, so keeping up on them is important to us. Yet we’re still trying to keep the rabbits out of the carrot patch!

* * *

Do plan to come when you can. This year, next year. We’re all feeling that it’s time to gradually open up to longer visits; for as you know, that is part of our purpose here. But it’s new for us and as yet largely unthought-out.

We face a number of questions right off, like a reluctance to set up restrictions of any kind, yet on the other hand a feeling of responsibility towards the ideals that we adopted and for which we were given this land to use. People’s dogs and cats, for instance, frighten and sometimes kill our wild neighbors with whom we are seeking a closer trust and friendship. Drugs, because of their illegality, threaten the community’s relationship with folks in the surrounding area, something we have come to value highly as an essential aspect of our work here.

Those are two. We don’t know yet of others, because by living here together we have automatically made certain adjustments in our behavior for the sake of the group and its purpose. That is what community implies. But we don’t know just what we’ve adjusted!

It seems that we need to sort out these self-imposed guidelines and find out which are important to the vision or ideal which we have been put here to build and which are not. And to then communicate these. We will try to get ourselves straightened out before you (or whoever) arrives. But it is possible that our thinking will be either incomplete or overdone, in which case none of us should be surprised by a few growing pains.

* * *

After a week in the Midwest, I returned home to Light Morning to find your Easter letter. The blessings of the life here are again known afresh to me and thus do I more keenly appreciate your wanting to try a new way of living. The rewards are far greater than the “sacrifices.”

It is not always as you saw it here, not always the beautiful, magical weather, the splendid display of bright stars and near-full moon. Yet the mountains are constant, their blend of power and peacefulness, and the purpose of the work here holds through the moon’s many phases and the infinite games that the sun and wind and clouds play with us. We are glad to hear that you will come live it for a while, to see if Light Morning is your way.

As to timing, we have thoughts and preferences, but trust to your innate wisdom for the final word. The earlier the better from our viewpoint. We found that coming in the spring, with winter still a long ways off, was essential to our process of adjustment. Housing is a consideration, too, as we would be reluctant to have anyone do any building of permanent shelters before the initial waiting period was experienced. So coming late in the year would probably mean a tent or a tipi the first winter. Which, after enjoying this winter in a tent, I do not consider much of a problem.

The end of the summer also means the tapering off of company, so that the relative solitude of fall and winter would be a misleading glimpse of a community that is largely dedicated to sharing itself with a large number of visitors.

And finally, we need you. Our work load is not heavier than we can handle, but we can do so much more with even just one more person. The garden, a wood shed and tool shed to build, the kitchen to expand–those are the major projects. We would love an extra hand.

So come when you can. Bring a tent and the same mellow gladness that flowed through you while you were here with us, and through your letters as well.

* * *

The day is lovely; a quiet Sunday, ears cocked for the sound of company. Bees getting into things, impatient for the promised blossoms.

* * *

Today we are using different words in speaking of our vision. “Permanent member” has fallen, and all that it implies. The emphasis has shifted from “people coming to see if Light Morning is their way,” to “people coming to clarify their vision, to find their way.” Light Morning is good for that. It is a place for listening, a place for a closer contact with one’s own wisdom and spirit, for understanding one’s purpose.

We see now that that is what is happening with us. We are finding our particular ways of expression, our modes of usefulness. We four have taken on a responsibility to care for the vision of the community as well, to get things going, to build tool sheds, plant gardens, and welcome visitors. But this may not always be our lot; it may pass to others, while we are led in other directions.

So when you come, don’t plan to stay forever. Come to learn to listen, so that you can hear what your next step will be. You may find that becoming a caretaker here is part of your dharma, as it has been part of ours. Or maybe not.

You’ll know more of that after a season or two of being here. We’re groping for a word or term to use to refer to that time of transition, during which the understanding grows–through dreams, the day’s experiences, the intuitive knowing–whether such a commitment is to be taken on.

The time must be long enough to let the thick, sticky film of familiarity settle upon the experience, dulling the initial surface sparkle, and thus calling for the deeper glow. And time enough for spirit to express itself fully; to enact the plays and dance the dances and sing the songs that will tell you of your part in this and other things. Meanwhile, we can help each other stay open and attentive, holding on to the flexibility needed for a full and loving response.

* * *

You might want to read Season of Changes if you haven’t already. Those readings are still central to the purpose here, especially “Part II: The Response.” We all have our various interpretations and understandings. Yet much of what’s expressed in that book is what has bound us together over quite difficult periods.

Our commitment, remember, was not to each other, but to a central ideal. We have been working together now for two years, and anything you can do to figure us out (our purpose, our basic assumptions, our language, our patterns of relating to one another) will help you in the challenge you now face of being the newcomer in a group of four people who’ve pretty much gotten used to each other.

We welcome and very much need new blood, so to speak, but old ways are comfortable. There is a part in each one of us that will balk at the change, any change, and would as soon smother as to risk taking in any new air. So there will be lessons and stretchings for everybody. We’re ready at this end, so come when you can.

* * *

This day, another magic one. The whip-poor-will a half hour before sunrise. He returned the day before yesterday [April 20th], after wintering elsewhere. A clear day, soft blowings of branches, the birds still announcing the beginnings, though it’s been two hours already since dawn.

Light Morning is going well. The first year is over, the first full cycle, and we can sense its end. A new feeling here. Stronger. Less shy. A renewed confidence and faith in the vision. And the details are smoother, the relationships and responsibilities .

The pear tree is in bloom, and the young peach trees, scattered randomly, proclaiming the victory of some blithely tossed pit against many odds. Daffodils, crocuses, violets, phlox, forsythia, and almost tulips; tiger lilies coming; also gladiolas and iris; and the apple and cherry trees will bloom; and the raspberries. Flowers somehow have more of a place here this year.

May 1975

Hand pump
Hand pump

It’s one of those darkened, blowy, but exciting days. Some rain earlier, and more to come. But vision is clear, even clearer than on cloudless days.

It speaks of a challenge to become as alive and as vigorous.

Things go well. Our second year will be quite different from the first, I think. We were perhaps a bit shyer then, replaced now by a growing confidence of purpose. Things seem to become simpler as one gets used to them. An easiness getting this year’s garden in, as though having seen it work once, we can see it again now.

The new blossoms on the pear tree takes us back to last year when the pear tree bloomed, and once again the greening tips of trees, and the lilacs and the peonies, and again we hear the whip-poor-will just before dawn. A sense of continuity that we didn’t have before.

An initial reaction to the idea of such a long journey to come see us was a wondering if we had that much to offer. But as I step back to look at our life here, and remember other ways, I see that even in the occasional awkwardness of our beginnings, there is something here that is important and whole, and that needs to be shared.

* * *

As to your question of where would be a safe place to locate your community, we wish we could be of more definite help. But the specifics of the land changes are not known to us beyond some general impressions (via the readings) of losing portions of California; the Great Lakes dumping into the Midwest; and new land off the Atlantic Coast.

When we were considering this piece of land that had come to us “by chance,” we asked that very question. (“Would it be a safe place?”). We were told that safety was not in the physical location, but in the level of our being. (Season of Changes, page 253) My first reaction was, “Well, of course, BUT…”

I have since come to better understand the wisdom there; that if one is prepared inside, the changes will not affect him, though he stand in the midst of the chaos.

Translated into more practical advice, I think this means to go wherever you’re drawn, staying open to the guidance that can bubble up to consciousness, holding to and refining your purpose, building it in your imagination, and then letting the current of circumstance carry you. The purpose (spirit) itself will do the maneuvering and use you as it sees fit, be you willing.

* * *

The spring is lovely here, and it’s a new moon. New energy for all of us. We’d love to hear of the unfolding of your vision as things begin to manifest. Meanwhile, may our friendship strengthen us all, and those whom we meet.

* * *

Today’s hawks and yesterday’s thunder and the laurel blooming and fresh spinach from the garden. But I’ll hold off and greet you when you come and we can all go off walking and you can see for yourself.

* * *

The whip-poor-will will soon be telling us that it is quarter to nine and time to turn toward sleeping. He is exact, never missing a night, seeming to sense our appreciation. The bees are still out working over the raspberries that nearly surround our tent. But they, too, will quit soon. Night, and then a new morning. The miracle of that alone.