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inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #51 of 77: Earl Crabb (esoft) Wed 27 Sep 00 00:00
    
To extend oz' question, do the Black Bear kids go back for
reunions or visits as much as then (then) grownups?
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #52 of 77: Mary Mackey (mm) Wed 27 Sep 00 17:51
    

There were a lot of them at the 25th reunion (which we had on the 26th
year because we couldn't quite get it together on the 25th).
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #53 of 77: Bud Burlison (bud) Wed 27 Sep 00 19:09
    
Got the book and enjoying the stories so far.
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #54 of 77: Ramon Sender Barayon (rabar) Wed 27 Sep 00 21:11
    
Can't help adding, what with the mention 
of Wheeler's, that our very own 'Home Free 
Home' book, a history of Morningstar and Wheeler's,
has been up on the Digger website for some years:
http://www.diggers.org/home_free.htm

Black Bear always was thought of fondly and respectfully 
as the sort of place where one moved when one's part of the 
land bleshed into a tribe and took wing. Both M* and The
Ridge seemed to function best as launching platforms, 
probably because of county heat and proximity to the city.

Look forward to reading the FL/FL book!

For MOST newsletter issues (by M* and Wheeler's grads)
browse:  www.ic.org/morningstar

BADABA!
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #55 of 77: Earl Crabb (esoft) Wed 27 Sep 00 21:41
    
A new question:  If you had it to do over, what would you change about
how the ranch was organized?  Was everything a learning experience, or
were there some things you didn't really need to learn the hard way?
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #56 of 77: Don Monkerud (don-monkerud) Thu 28 Sep 00 21:23
    
To answer the question about how the kids feel about being raised at
BB… Not to presume too much, it would be best to ask them. I have asked
a number of them, and unfortunately none of them are here to answer
the question themselves. There are several stories in the book by the
kids, Shasta, Natasha, Toz, Tasilia… to begin with and most of them
tell their stories fondly, even when they are painful. 

Like the adults, and everyone else in life, some had positive
experiences and some had negative. A number of the kids (let’s watch
this term, I use it loosely; the "kids" are now adults, some of them
with their own children -- Indira just had her third!) continue to
return to BB, some never want to ever see the place again. 

From my perspective this depends to a large extent on the type of care
they had. Yes we were communal, but communal can also mean that no one
pays attention to a child and they are left to their own devices. Some
mothers, and fathers, continued to care for their children in a
communal setting. They were nurtured, loved, cared for, looked after,
while given a great degree of freedom. Others were left to the commune
to be cared for and didn’t fare so well. They may have been better
cared for in the communal setting than if they had been in a nuclear
family – and let’s face it, that can be an absolutely terrible
experience.

Overall these kids blow me away. They always related to adults,
possibly because adults related to them and respected them. The are
outgoing, smart, have a wide range of experiences, are open minded, and
are a joy to be around. They are real people. I found little of what I
call suburban withdrawl where kids don’t talk to or deal with adults
(they appear to have damaged self concepts as if only other teenagers
will understand them). 
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #57 of 77: Earl Crabb (esoft) Thu 28 Sep 00 23:13
    
I met Bear about twelve years ago, still run into him
every so often, and if he's any example, I'd say you
did incredibly well with the kids.  He still goes up
to the ranch in the summers, I think.

But, what of the kids that can't stand the place now? 
Is it the normal rebellion kids go through, or were some 
kids truly adversely affected by their experience?  

I ask because I remember one of the children lost hearing in
one ear for awhile after being hit, but maybe that was after 
the writer and her mother left Black Bear and went to India? 
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #58 of 77: Mary Mackey (mm) Fri 29 Sep 00 18:08
    

That was after she left Black Bear, Earl. I don't recall
any child being hit when I was at the ranch, but of course
I wasn't there too long. However, during the time I was
there, I was very impressed by the way that even the smallest
children met adults on an equal level in a positive,
intelligent way. It was very impressive (so much so that I
wrote a poem about it at the time)
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #59 of 77: Linda Castellani (castle) Fri 29 Sep 00 20:47
    

Has it been published, Mary?  Can you share it with us?
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #60 of 77: Earl Crabb (esoft) Sat 30 Sep 00 22:05
    
What is the relationship now between the ranch 
and the nearby towns, especially with the law?

Do you expect any fallout when the townspeople
read the book and find out what was really going
on out there?
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #61 of 77: Don Monkerud (don-monkerud) Sun 1 Oct 00 11:15
    
Things have changed tremendously in the past 30 years, obviously. And
one thing that you would expect to change is the relationship with the
local community. We made friends with local people, and despite my
mentioning of how we scared the hell out of most straight people at the
time, people who live in remote areas band together, whether they see
eye-to-eye or not. They know you depend upon your neighbors in times of
crisis. 

We made some very good friends over the years. Our kids wound up going
to the Forks School. People from BB moved down to the River and
integrated with the community. When these people read the book, they
too look fondly back on those days ... after the U.S. Forest Service
came in and drove people off mining claims and virtually destroyed the
community, these people feel like they were in the same boat as we
were.

I visited about a year and a half ago and a road crew was working on
the road into BB. The guy on the loader looked at me and said don't I
know you -- after all these years. He was a ten-year-old kid back then
and he and I recalled his father who passed away recently.

This summer I was going over the Etna Summit on the way to BB and ran
into a county dump truck driver who had stopped for the view. He
recalled the friends he'd made with the people from BB and wanted to
know how they were doing. Again he recalled them fondly.
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #62 of 77: Gail Williams (gail) Sun 1 Oct 00 12:33
    
Speaking of Etna Summit and that area, did Black Bear have any connection or
interaction with Camp Unalayee, the wilderness backpacking kids camp
centered near there?
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #63 of 77: Malcolm Terence (malcolmterence) Mon 2 Oct 00 17:49
    
I've heard that some of our children, Will Harling among them, worked
lately at Camp Unalayee. Will and Toz Soto and a few of the other Black
Bear second generation have been especial sources of pride because
they grew up on the river, went to the University (Humboldt State) to
become biologists and then returned to the river to influence policy. 

And Forest Management Policy is still highly polarized in this corner
of the world. My own view of the issue is they logged everything easy
and now the arguement is over the crumbs. Crumbs, of course, have great
value, when they are all there is. 

That our children have entered the fray on a much more sophisticated
level than we did is comforting. 

Do people reading the book have any feedback on the writing. As one of
the editors, I spent two years getting manuscripts that moved me
deeply. My personal favorites: Efrem Korngold's piece about shooting
the bear and Tesilya Hannauer's piece about being deserted by her
mother in India when she was still very young. Check them out. 
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #64 of 77: Mary Mackey (mm) Mon 2 Oct 00 18:57
    

Linda, my poem "Sleeping Among The Children" is included in the book.
I wrote it in '73. It has also been published in one of my out of
print earlier poetry collections.
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #65 of 77: Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 2 Oct 00 19:41
    

Too bad I can't see either of those from here, Mary!
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #66 of 77: Earl Crabb (esoft) Tue 3 Oct 00 20:21
    
If anyone has questions for our authors, please email them to
   inkwell-hosts@well.com
and we will post them here.  

(Unless you're a Well member, in which case you can post them here directly.)
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #67 of 77: Earl Crabb (esoft) Tue 3 Oct 00 21:39
    
How much pressure was there on the individual to conform
to ranch mores?  Was there encouragement for individuals 
to experiment in different ways?  What would have happened
(or what _did_ happen) when someone wanted to try, say,
monogamy?  or maybe, employment?  or maybe, marriage?
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #68 of 77: Mary Mackey (mm) Wed 4 Oct 00 23:00
    

I know you're going to get some very interesting responses to that
Earl. While we are waiting, I am going to post my poem--not hidden
since as I understand it, people coming in through Enganged, can't
see hidden posts.

SLEEPING AMONG THE CHILDREN

          copyright Mary Mackey, 1973


all around me
the children are sleeping
their dreams curl into mine
like threads of blue smoke

Finn
is dreaming
of the star Altair
where children
have huge blue wings
in his dream
they fly up in a circle
laughing
and make a sun
of phosphorescent butterflies

Milagra
is dreaming
of changes
of rocks that become
music
of rivers that taste like
peppermint
of a world where
all the grown-ups
have become
children again

Tirien
is dreaming that she is a guide
who leads the souls
of soft animals
behind her
like a string of wool

Aloka
in her dreams
gives birth to herself
becoming first her mother
then her father
then a sliver of diamond
breathing black velvet

Tsilia
watches me
with open eyes.
too wise
to dream
she moves
through the labyrinth
of the night
weaving together the threads.
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #69 of 77: Earl Crabb (esoft) Wed 4 Oct 00 23:28
    
Ah, when I read that in the book, I saw vivid images of the
kids.  I was well into the story by Tesilya, following your
poems, when I suddenly realized that Tesilya was probably 
the child Tsilia of your poem, and that all your images
should be about 30 years older now!  The Tsilia image fits
the older Tesilya perfectly.  Now I wonder about the other
kids, Finn, Milara, Tirien, and Aloka, and what they would
be like today.
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #70 of 77: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 4 Oct 00 23:28
    

Just beautiful, Mary.  Thank you so much for posting that.
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #71 of 77: Mary Mackey (mm) Fri 6 Oct 00 22:59
    

you're welcome.
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #72 of 77: Linda Castellani (castle) Sat 7 Oct 00 10:24
    

I'd like to thank Earl and all of his guests for joining us and allowing
us this too-brief glimpse inside Black Bear.  You are welcome to hang
around and post whenever inspiration strikes...
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #73 of 77: Earl Crabb (esoft) Sat 7 Oct 00 10:39
    
And I'd like to thank our guests, Don, Malcolm, Susan, Mary,
for their contributions here and the book itself.

I'll still be here, if anyone wants to ask or answer more 
questions!
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #74 of 77: blather storm (lolly) Sat 7 Oct 00 11:06
    

Thanks to all!
  
inkwell.vue.88 : FREE LAND, FREE LOVE: Tales of a Wilderness Commune
permalink #75 of 77: Don Monkerud (don-monkerud) Sun 8 Oct 00 20:25
    
Pressure to conform? Any group has accepted standards of behavior, for
example, we had little tolerance for followers. Or for gurus, or
self-professed leaders. Several people who came to BB seeking followers
were saddly disappointed and soon left. At the same time, there was a
great amount of tolerance for individual differences and perferances.
We didn't not want to be clamped into a mold and respected other's
rights of not wanting to be pressed into that mold. But there was
pressure to.

In the book I speak of Johathan putting his arm around me when I'd
just responded to criticism that I went off to read and write in the
afternoon and liked being my myself. "Don't worry," he reassured me.
"You'll get over that." I didn't want to get over it and for me that
was a scary moment. 

For the most part some people like some people and not others; there
were enough people that you didn't have to love everyone equally, you
might dislike someone and be able to avoid them due to the size of the
group. While at the same time, you shared more with that person that
you did with people outside. 

It's been informative. You've forced me to look at some issues and
examine questions that I haven't thought much about. Thanks everyone!
  

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