While I was home for spring break, I took a drive out to Loleta, a pastoral place that ultimately overlooks the ocean. Back in the very early 1970s, there was a hippie commune set up at a former lighthouse/coastguard station. It was called the Lighthouse Ranch, and I lived there for a while.
I recently wrote a short memoir piece about life at the Ranch, and it was strange to trek over those old times. It seems a little like a dream, how earnestly we pursued our desire to love God and love each other. The photo above is on the side of the old 'brothers' dorm.' So much of what was there is either gone, locked up, or melting back into the ground. It's a perfect metaphor.
This is the main building. There was a big dining hall and giant kitchen on the ground floor; I spent quite a bit of time working there. It looks grim, but back in the day, I was in love with the place and the hundred-or-so people who lived there. Below is a little excerpt from the memoir.
Trying to explain how it was is like trying to explain how you would know the sound of your lover’s breathing, even in a dark room full of breathing strangers. We were all very young. There was a war, and we were tired. We were tired of the war and tired of the passions war inflamed. We wanted to love each other, so we called each other brother and sister. We had decided that we were on the bus with Jesus. Not only did he look like one of us, he was offering paradise. We got on the bus with Jesus and it was a new trip.
The thing that you don’t know about living with a hundred people is that the most important thing is jam. It is very important that everyone get the same amount of yogurt at breakfast, and that no one eats all the jam. You might think the elder’s job is to drag you out of your little bunk, sisters’ dorm, brothers’ dorm, married couples too, everyone huddled in a stupor at 6 a.m. to hear a recording of the Apostle’s purpose and vision. But it is actually his job to make sure about the jam. Jesus may have increased the loaves and fishes, but he hasn’t made any moves toward increasing the jam.
It was always something with the food. The girl who shopped for groceries wept every week in the co-op, standing by the bulk bins. No matter what she planned, there was never enough money. There were sandwiches made of fava beans. ~Baku 2008
Drop me a comment if you'd like to read more.