Sometimes I’m thinking so hard about something that my brain feels a bit too big to fit in my head. If I’m going to have a headache though, I suppose that is the sort I’d like to have, because at least it nets good results in the long run. I’ve been thinking about community for a long time. As a kid I went to a socialist Jewish camp modeled after Israeli Kibutzim, which are intentional communities focused on farming and living with the land, and mutual support among members. They involve an integrated group living style and camp was much like that.
At camp we got up every morning and all met to check in at the flag pole before breakfast, any important announcements were shared and then we ate together as a group. Following breakfast we had work groups, each choosing what group we wanted to be in at the beginning of the camp session. Not surprisingly, I always gravitated to the group responsible for the garden and taking care of the animals. Through all my childhood, if being near animals or in the dirt was an option, I jumped on it. Throughout the rest of the day we had meals as a whole community, and some activities were structured that was as well, where others were split up by age group, skill level, or interests. Song was an ever-present reality of life, one thing I miss the most about being there was living a life where song and dance were a constant part of daily existence. The landscape as well absolutely haunts my dreams and my soul sometimes cries out for it. The summer skies were perfection, no matter the clouds or the endless blue, or the deep violets at night with an endless amount of clearly visible stars. They had a quality to them that was so intense, they felt so close, that it made every other sky I had seen before seem fake. The camp was nestled by a serpentine, so we hiked through meadows where the mineral composition of the soil caused the grass to grow in beautiful shades of blue and purple intermixed with green and teal. It felt like another world, and it felt like home.
The sense of community there was so palpable, it was everything you’ve dreamed of when you think of coming home. It was the last place I remember being entirely comfortable with touch, where I could just curl up in a pile of warm bodies and not cringe or tense up. There was always a feeling of safety, everyone had the best intentions of others at heart, or it certainly seemed so. It wasn’t that we were too young for malice and selfishness, but as a community even of young folk, we actively discussed ways we could create a more kind and generous world, fight bigotry, and tear down the walls that divided us. I’ve never met so many driven passionate people in one place, so many artists with a vision straining to burst out of them, so many healers with a desire to absorb all the ills of the heart and mind and make everyone around them feel whole. When I ever wonder if with my rational logic driven mind, focused on figures and arguable facts, if I could possibly believe with my whole being in magic, I only have to think back to that place to say yes.
I didn’t know that my last year there would be my last, I always intended to return as a counselor and stay for many years onward, but that didn’t happen. I did spend every summer there from around when I was ten to when I was fifteen, and I knew after the first one that I would create something that felt that way, when I grew up. I talked for years incessantly and with passion about my dream for a community, not a summer camp, but a place where as an adult I could live my life constantly in that feeling of comfort and home and magic summer skies. I have lived most of my adult life in communal living environments, usually with my polycule, partners and metamours. There has been sometimes a glimpse of community, it is a shadow that flits around our home, but there were barriers in truly creating that in full. After incessant talk of community for the past almost twenty years though, I have found others with a shared dream and we’ve begun the discussion process towards truly building that. In discovering the term, intentional community, and then beginning to explore ecovillages, co-housing, communal living, and other IC models, we opened the door to the knowledge we needed to move forward. I’ve done a lot with my life thus far, I have two college degrees and working on a third, I’ve run a craft business briefly, raised my own meat, had many partnerships and loves, descended into and back out of alcoholism, dealt with and societal and emotional impact of being trans and queer in today’s society, and shoved a fuck ton of adventures under my belt in the process. Nothing I have done resonates with me as much as this though, I’ve known since childhood that this was my driving passion. So, as I work on so much other personal growth and have begun several other new life journeys, I also look to move forward with this. I know with the other amazing people I’ve found who share this dream that it will succeed, and I look forward to coming home.