Beauty on the Bridge
A WONDER OF THE WORLD!
by Gaspar Robles
I took on the bridge project because I had a vision of a thing of beauty at the crossroads of our community. My plans originally included more extensive stonework, but in the end I settled for a strong and simple foundation with a pyramid at one end. I collected stones for over four years, but the reality is that I had all the ideas but never laid a stone until Travis came, with his 25 years of experience as a mason, tiler and general builder. He has done an inspiring job with meticulous and creative care.
On the mystical side, one of the ideas I had was to put stones in the wall from all over the world, thus building an energetic bridge back to their source countries. Many wonderful contributions have been made by the community and neighbors to this end. Travis also spent time researching and building special Organite devices (based on Wilhelm Reich's Orgone principles) as a means to possibly clear the air/water of pollution, EMF, chem trails, etc. On the physical side, our process included digging out, rebuilding and reinforcing sections of the ground up to five feet underneath the corner stones and then cementing those to the ground in a continuous pour. We spent extra time and effort making sure the work would survive long-term vehicle traffic and possible creek overflow.
After Travis designed and formed up the walls of the bridge, several people helped when the cement truck arrived—thanks to Brent, Ryan, Seaver and several others for timely help at that stage. We faced the concrete walls with attractive stones and crystals. Ivy had the idea for Chakra-color stones and I envisioned engraving them with the corresponding Sanskrit symbols. Travis spent a day, with a little technical drawing help from Peggy (thanks, Peggy!) engraving the symbols.
In all, Travis spent a lot of thought and energy making sure the vision I had for the bridge would have the best chance of long-term durability and beauty, much as I imagine he did for his home remodeling clients. It's been a wonderful father/son project for me and I look forward to completing it with him in the near future!
Gaspar Robles, an 11-year member, founded the free store and tool share at Earthaven. Gaspar dispenses flower essences, guides trauma release exercises, and offers chiropractic care in the community. Travis Robb is Gaspar's son.
Not So Bizarre
Notes from the 2014 "Bizarre Bazaar"
by Melissa Lemoing (aka River Otter)
Both for the alliteration of it, and because the way we do things is so often not the way “it’s done,” our annual holiday crafts-and-goodies bazaar has been called “bizarre” since it’s beginnings. This year, after so many years organizing it, I was able to organize the Bazaar and have it set up and taken down in half the time as ever before with, of course, the help of a new cadre of Earthaven elves.
We love our bazaar and there’s nothing bizarre to us at all about all the homemade, hand-built, humbly priced treasures we wait all year to snatch up for our friends and families, and for our own use and delight as well. From handcrafted salves, lotions and tonics to chocolates and cakes, potions and power drinks, with upcycled clothing and jewelry and more, neighbors and residents flow in and through the transformed decorated Council Hall.
Earthaven co-founder Michaeljon Drouin visited One Stone Community neighbor Otter Malone at his jewelry table.
Pripo and Rainbow Teplitsky, from nearby Rosy Branch Farms, at her upcycled clothing “booth.”
Geni Stephenson of Full Circle Farm (literally next door) sells creamed honey, felted decorations and—this year, at last—her pottery!
Amakiasu returned to live at Earthaven with her husband, Abdullah, who baked up a storm for the Bazaar, including the best sweet potato pie in WNC!
River Devil—oops—River Otter is Earthaven’s Outreach Coordinator, Campground Manager and wearer of many other important, non-devilish hats. In her spare time, she’s a massage therapist, jin shin jyutsu practitione, and a popular resident herbalist.
Our Rosetta Turns 99!
By Diana Leafe Christian
Earthaven member Rosetta Neff celebrated her 99th birthday here January 3, 2015. She may be the world's oldest ecovillager! When Rosetta began visiting Earthaven with her daughter, Diana, in October, 2000, both were living an hour away In Polk County. They had been impressed with their visits and, finally, Rosetta suggested they join Earthaven.
Rosetta and Diana had a small house built in the Forest Garden Neighborhood, moving to Earthaven when Rosetta was 88. Like other ecovillagers worldwide, Rosetta uses wood heat, a composting toilet (hers is indoors), spring and roof-catchment water heated on-demand with propane, and off-grid solar power, which she keeps an eye on by regularly reading their trimetric meter.
In her early years at Earthaven, when she could hear better, Rosetta attended Council Meetings and stayed tuned in to the process of building the community. One of her concerns was our lack of children. "If we don't start making it easier for young families to join," she warned, "in a few years we'll be just another old folks' home!" (It did get easier—now many children live at Earthaven, along with their families, which of coure delights Rosetta. One of her favorites is four-year-old Forest Bosley, Julie McMahon and Andy Bosley’s son. He often climbs into her lap to look at books from her shelf. His favorite — The Humanure Handbook).
Although Rosetta stopped driving several years ago, she still cooks, does dishes, helps with laundry, and enjoys visiting with many Earthaven friends and neighbors. She especially appreciates buying farm products from neighbors at Tuesday morning Coffee & Trade, which is her favorite social event at Earthaven.
Diana Leafe Christian teaches Sociocracy and other elements of the Ecovillage Design Course worldwide.
Back at the White Owl… Again!
by Arjuna da Silva
After some time as a private residence and then, well, kind of sad and empty, the White Owl is once again being used for special events, including a Middle Eastern-themed feast and supper club with chef Carleigh O’Donnell, shown here forming pita bread, with chef’s helper Jenna Payne checking the garbanzos.
This first of a soon-to-be monthly event (next one: Ethiopian on January 24th) was by reservation only and limited to a small, first come-first served group. White Owl resident and host Art Meyers is offering the venue to members for special events like these, as he and his family make plans to expand the space available for them. Here guests are awaiting table service and other royal treatment!
After a sumptuous dinner, topped off with pomegranates and dates for dessert, and toasts to an elegant future, folks retired to the sofas for more intimate conversations.
A few weeks later, Carleigh and Jenna offered a Sunday brunch, and all available seats were quickly taken! Here’s Chuck getting tea while folks worked out the seating.
And here’s Brandon Greenstein, who ran the White Owl years ago, getting a hug from Carmen Lescher, who returned to Earthaven recently and says she’s here to stay!
Arjuna da Silva edits the Earthaven e-newsletter. What would you like to see/her about? Please send suggestions to email@example.com.
From Oneness to Diversity
by Arjuna da Silva
The first structure Earthaveners built together, called the Pavilion, was intended as a kitchen. Foreshadowing the design of the Council Hall, it was a yurt with round, straight walls and an experimental ferro-cement roof. Bamboo harvested from a Weaverville roadside made the purlins, and a wood fiber called excelsior was stuffed behind them. Not long afterward, we realized the flammable ceiling was a deal-breaker for a kitchen. That was 1995.
We went back to the tiny Mud Hut until the Hamlet Kitchen was completed a few years later, and in the ensuing years the Pavilion was renamed the House of Oneness, designated but rarely used as a meditation-yoga space, and then for childcare. I only remember using it for kids’ activities during the Bioregional Conference in 2003. Eventually, after the roof took a hit from a tree limb and the unmaintained interior began to slump, it became a barn for Yellowroot Farm’s adjacent field.
Enter Zev Friedman and his uncanny feeling for the meaning of things. Analyzing the changes in Earthaven culture, he began to call the deteriorating structure The House of Gathered Diversity. He proposed that we preserve the history and meaning of the structure by transplanting the surviving wooden posts to a new sacred space in the Village Center and building a memorial bench to preserve sacred space at the original site.
According to Zev, “this transformation ritually depicts the diversified direction the community seems to be taking, and it creates useful infrastructure to help maintain a sense of connectedness between different parts of the village as we enter the next stage of Earthaven’s life.”
Georgia Papadakis spent a few months with the Medicine Wheel Collective last year and sent this sweet note from her travels…
Hey there, People of Earthaven,
This is my belated goodbye.
Dominator culture maintains that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” or that personal growth stems most measurably from painful experience. I've always been suspicious of this attitude, observing that while hardship shapes us, it’s in joy and continuity that we are able to shape ourselves. My two months at Earthaven confirmed that for me; for the first time in a very long time, I was able to breathe and get some perspective. I was constantly impressed with the community that you all work to create... even more so now given the contrast of being back in the world outside.
Thanks to everyone who made me feel welcome and valued, and who caused me to smile at any point. I appreciate it more than I can say, and I carry it with me.
Upcoming Joys and Other Events
ENTREPRENEURALITY AT THE ECOVILLAGE
As a feature of our newsletter this year, we’ll include announcements, articles and even requests from folks starting up new enterprises at Earthaven (or just thinking about it). Many are gathering new skills, such as some who’ve been learning how to make moccasins like these. Visit the SOIL website to learn more.
One business that has already taken off and seems to be heading for thrival is Brent Hickey’s sharpening service. At a recent primitive skills gathering, Brent decided to learn something he could use back home at Earthaven, so he spent the gathering learning about sharpening tools. A couple of Earthaven members fronted him a full service fee each so he could buy a full set of sharpening tools, and now he’s the man for the job. Big, small, single, double—if you’ve got it, he’ll sharpen it— firstname.lastname@example.org.
ON THE CALENDAR
Peter Bane, long-time publisher of the Permaculture Activist and author of The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country, as well as a co-founder of Earthaven, will be in Asheville on February 8 for a one-day workshop entitled “Home-Grown Revolution–How Re-imagining your Home & Yard can Transform the World.” Details here.
CULTURE'S EDGE PRESENTS...
Loving More: Exploring the Art of Intimacy
with Steve Torma
Saturday, February 14, 10am – 5:30 pm
Join Steve for a day of genuine heart space, exploring ideas and practices that help create more lasting, loving relationships and a deep sense of inner peace.
Stay tuned for the exact date in March when Searra Gisondo, songstress extraordinaire, returns to Earthaven for a Songwriting Workshop and Concert (postponed from January).
In April—(also waiting for the exact date)— Community Improv for Fun and Feedback
with Robby Boyer
1st U.S. Conference Restorative Circles in Intentional Communities
with Dominic Barter and Friends!
Keynote address with Dom in Asheville, June 5
Natural Building Internship Program
with Steve-o Brodmerkel
Over several years and with the help of several rounds of interns, Steve-o built this amazing house at Earthaven…
Last year his interns built this tiny house in Asheville…
Come join us for our next exciting project this summer! Visit our website!
February 26 - March 1
Join Zev Friedman and Justin Holt for a weekend workshop in Sylva, NC, when we explore how to harness the zeal of the 'zu for both human and ecological gain! More information here.
Guiding the Young Child
March 14 & 15
Enhance joy, laughter and calm in your family and community through the art of loving, storytelling, and playful discipline. A workshop for parents & educators with Lia Grippo. More information here.
Village Permaculture Apprenticeship
March 23 to November 9
Apprentices learn to tend the land skillfully with Zev Friedman’s project-oriented curriculum including formal permaculture design, and cultural learning delivered organically through living at Earthaven Ecovillage. More information here.
Farm and Ecovillage Experience
Learning through experience, with a focus on environmental, social, and economic bottom lines in organic food production, regenerative systems, and community living. Experience ecovillage living at Earthaven. More information here.