Near Black Mountain, North Carolina
Public Tours/Communal Lunch every Saturday at 10:30 am
Learn from the Earthhaveners example. After ten years of incredible hard work, they are off the grid, almost independent of greenhouse gases, and have evolved complex systems of government. They hold conferences and workshops to share their individual talents as well as community experiences.
About 60 folk whose ages range from in utero to 89 years.
Young, old, teachers, engineers, massage therapists, herb-crafters, families, refugees from Out There.
Sight: Green, wild, tangled, wet, mud huts, adobe bricks, hay-bale huts and houses, dirt, pathways, gardens, 1 trampoline, solar panels, ragged folk. Stained-glass set in mud instead of led. Coppery-scaled serpent wrapped around a red-clay building. Fat black wire, discreet among the foliage. Bright green street-sign: Another Way.
Sound: Rushing gushing streams, wind through acres and acres of trees, soft bird-song, the lunch triangle/gong, questions, questions, questions, occasional hammering, the sweet strong song of our lunch cook.
Touch: Humid air, sweat down my back, the ankle-bite of my Teva straps. Skips hand tight against mine. Sun and breeze. Steaming hot water on my hands as we wash out lunch dishes.
Taste: Crunch of broccoli, sweetness of soy mayonnaise. Plump, tasty beans. Crunchy, tangy carrots. Earthy crunch and crumble of corn-meal. Clear, liquid-good spring water. No taste of chlorine.
Smell: Clean breeze, clean trees. Mountain laurel and rhododendron, blooming into sweet frenzy. Fresh mint penetrating my nose. Musty, rotting, over-powering compost.
Kym's Favorite Things:
Off the grid with hydro and solar
Teachers/workshops on permaculture, yoga, sacred sexuality, herbcraft, deep democracy, etc.
Skip's Favorite Things:
Artistic expression in dwellings
What Kym Didn't Like:
Not enough recreation all that water and nowhere to swim.
Not enough art
What Skip Didn't like:
Isolation in the name of conservation
Neighborhood execution isolates members of the community from each other.
Use of Hydro-electric still too limited.
Dog Friendly? Nyet. Dogs on your property only, but without a traditional yard, what does that mean? No dogs are present, and officially we arent allowed to bring ours for camping or for the tour. We have a feeling that if we really wanted to stay in the campground a week, something could be worked out.
What We Learned:
Intentional communities are decades more advanced than the communes of the 60s and 70s. These are no lazy, dope-smoking hippies. They are tech-heads and leaders and teachers and organizers. These people have 320 acres, a Membership Committee, and equity, baby. The permaculture movement is serious about living in communion and balance with the earth, serious enough to give up heat and ac, serious enough to live with dirt to get away from the super-consumptive world.
What We'll Incorporate into Our Place:
Sustainable power. Sustainable building. HYDRO. We need running water, water power. Education. All of their building methods, and more. Deep democracy? And definitely, definitely the wonderful blessing song we sang before lunch.
What we said while we were there:
What we said while we were there: Shame on us for not staying months. Shame on us for just taking the three-hour tour.