February 2012

Visiting a New Mexico hippie haunt

By Art Goodtimes

LAMA … For many years in the Sixties, those of us in San Francisco heard and read about the commune movement in northern New Mexico – places like the Hog Farm, New Buffalo and Morningstar East. While many of those places disappeared, Lama became a foundation and has continued as a communal haven of renown in the counter-cultural movement since its founding in 1967. Its prayer-flag cottage industry has helped it survive economically, while the publication of Ram Dass’ “Be Here Now” also gave Lama a long-term financial grounding … This past weekend I got to make my first visit to the residential cluster of homes that surround the famous intentional community (see lamafoundation.org). It was a birthday party for an old friend, and in the process of celebrating I got to meet some incredible people … They included Rick Klein, the legendary musician and New Buffalo commune founder, and his wife Terry. Rick played some amazing music for us, and the two of us had some lovely talks about the hippie days … Annie Gersh was a charming veteran of that same period, and lives in a beautiful adobe adjacent to Lama full of paintings and mementoes of her famous painter/poet partner, Bill Gersh, who was a legend in Taos throughout the Sixties and Seventies. I don’t think I’ve met an elder who more embodies the hippie spirit or keeps that flame alive than Annie … Musician and string instrument-maker Tony Sutherland was the wonderfully gracious host for the birthday bash. His song “Everything Is Everything” can be found on YouTube … Incredible yoga teacher Wendelin Scott was able to key into our group of newbies and experienced practitioners in a way that made the least experienced feel comfortable and at home in various asanas. She’s co-director of Yoga Source in Santa Fe and a devoted student of Advaita Vedanta. She holds a master’s in Eastern Classics and Sanskrit from St. John’s College … I’m hoping many of these folks will come up to join us for the Telluride Mushroom Festival this year.

THE TALKING GOURD

Vocation

Seminary for me
was R.C. boot camp
Basic training

In Papal Bull
Our mission to tithe
& save, alongside the state’s

tax & kill. Now
elected to local office
I serve the people’s will

The statutes my bible
Compassion my skill
Blindfolded

at the altar of balance
Genuflecting
still

THE GLORY … My teacher, Dolores LaChapelle of Silverton, was always fascinated by the solar phenomenon called a “glory” – a circular rainbow of light seen in alpine regions, often surrounding one’s shadow form on nearby clouds. First reported by a French scientific expedition to Ecuador in 1748, the exact mechanism of this rare but fantastical light show has been explained in many ways. But H. Moysés Nussenzveig’s article about it in the same issue of Scientific American is worth reading … Turns out, it’s not nearly as simple as has often been explained. Three effects are involved. However, geometric-optic axial back scattering has only a small part to play, edge rays aren’t all that big a contributor, but Mie resonances arising from the tunneling of light seem to be the main effectuator.

FOREST SERVICE … I think USFS got the message when a lot of us on both sides of the political aisle protested the federal agency’s not extending the timeline for comments on their new nationwide Planning Rule last year … Our own Uncompahgre National Forest (part of the joint Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forest — headquartered in Delta but with a Ranger District office in Norwood) has tried three separate times to update its forest-wide planning rule – only to have it tossed out or pulled back for some reason. So, there’s no question a new rule is needed – both on the national level (thanks to a court ruling in favor of an environmental group) and on the local forest level (where they need the certainty of a new rule to finalize their own local planning). But not giving this big national change the opportunity for more comprehensive public comment from collaborative groups (as I was trying to form with enviro and timber interests) seemed unfortunate and politically driven. Bad public policy for good strategic politics was not a trade-off that I appreciated from folks I considered progressive allies. So, I kind of tossed in the national towel, and decided to focus on local issues for a while … But I just learned that Obama’s Sec. of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, has proposed the creation of a national Planning Rule Resource Advisory Council to help implement the new Planning Rule that the USFS has officially adopted. As a long-time advocate of resource advisory councils (RACs) for the USFS (particularly as former chair of the National Association of Counties’ Gateway Communities Subcommittee), I’m heartened to see the USFS embracing this important community feedback tool that the BLM has used so effectively in Colorado and all around the country.

25 THOUSAND 12 … Not the year of our Lord or King or Emperor-Pope, but of the first Beringian to set foot on North America … It was an earlier Pleistocene warming trend (similar to our current Holocene anthropogenic catastrophe called Climate Change) that pulled back the Laurentian Ice Sheets and allowed humans a northern passage across today’s Bering Straits. In fact, a recent Scientific American piece pinpoints that possible land passage at some 17,000 years ago. And it goes on, if there were a sea passage, guesstimating first humans as far back as 25,000 years ago. So there’s my working calendar’s “birth” date. The birth of humans in the New World. I want to mark my brief passage on Turtle Island from that moment to this moment. To now.... No question, it’s past time for a new calendar in my life … I began as a very Christian young man. Even studied deeply in that tradition – philosophy, poetry, rhetoric, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, the Bible ... But the Psychedelic Sixties forced me to challenge all traditions. Everything I thought I knew. Everything I believed in. It all got thrown tossed salad up for grabs. I left college for a stint as Volunteer In Service To America on Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation. Where I found a deeper spirituality. Not mine, but one of many beautiful and powerful indigenous traditions … And then I came back to San Francisco in the Summer of Love. And have attended Rainbow Gatherings ever since. My spirituality has grown and shrunk and morphed many times. But the way I mark the days of my life have been stuck in (for me) an old paradigm … Time for a change, I’m thinking (if not at 66, then when?) … So I’ve taken to creating an Ancient North American Calendar (ANAC). Replacing our Julian/Gregorian system of keeping track of time from out the hands of one religion, and into the hands of science’s best guess … Not 2012 [TwentyTwelve] but 25012 [Twentyfive Thousand Twelve].

Art Goodtimes is a San Miguel County commissioner.