Every Day is a Winding Road . . .Ginnry talks about arriving at Windward
... I get a little bit closer...
(With thanks to Cheryl Crow)
It has been one heck of a winding road that has
brought me to Windward. And I am SO very happy to
have arrived - at last!!
I am a forty-three year old single female and I would
like to spend a little while sharing with you the
delicious experience that has been my introduction to
this very special intentional community.
Indeed, it was through the directory of intentional
communites, published by the folks at IC.org, that I
came to know of Windward, as well as many other groups
that caught my eye over the years.
The first time I visited the IC website was late in
the summer of 1998, only months after I finally gave
in to the pressure to set-up an e-mail account and
become familiar with the wide wild world of the web.
Virtually overnight, my universe expanded
In April of that same year I had left my love of seven
years and my life of simplicity that was the
realization of a dream in the high desert of northern
Arizona. Known to some as the Arizona Strip, it has
been and remains the land of outlaws and renegades.
While I do not consider myself an extreme example of
either, there is little about my life that one would
call "conventional"... and so I more or less fit in
with the "patriots" and the Mormons.
And so, it was on a one-acre parcel in Mohave County
that my partner, Steven, and I had erected a small
house, made ourselves an integral part of a (mostly
elderly) community of Latter Days Saints, and pursued
our dreams. Well, pursued MY dream. Steven was a
precious soul, however, the reality of our living "off
the land" as we did with solar panels, composting
toilet, critter and gardens galore was strictly the
stuff of MY dreams.
I chose to leave that meaningful existence when, after
15 years of sobriety, Steven returned to alcohol AND
fell in love with a woman eleven years my junior.
Either change on its own, I probably could have
handled with some grace, but the fact was, he and I
were no longer walking together toward the same goal.
And, so began five and a-half years of gypsy-like
living with twists and turns I NEVER could have
imagined - and with the result being the person I am
today in the place I am today, getting a "little bit
closer" every day to bliss.
Throughout the years, I have turned periodically to
the Intentional Community website, wondering if there
was something there for me, yet until the summer of
THIS year, I did not begin my quest in earnest.
It took the effort of barking up a couple of
inappropriate trees before I found a keeper!
Of the three places I landed before zeroing in on the
Columbia Gorge region, two were also in the desert
southwest, one of which was most definitely a
community-wanna-be. When I showed up, we numbered two
and one-half! Which was approximately how many weeks
I chose to stick it out and be a party to their
wishful thinking. They have since sold their rural
property and moved to Phoenix (where "he" worked
The other desert locale was nestled in among the
pueblos north of Santa Fe and that group had SERIOUS
water challenges. To exascerbate my discomfort (as a
gardener and herbalist feeling angst over the severe
lack of water), the lovely hills of New Mexico were
covered with dead and dying pinyon trees. It is a
site to make ANYone cringe. (Well, ALMOST anyone. As
I drove through southern Utah recently, I noticed a
bumper sticker that read: Clear-cutting prevents
forest fires. Yeah, right...)
Criminy. Enough about history already - let me tell
you about coming to Windward!!
I KNOW these good folks were rolling their collective
eyes as I e-mailed and phoned with travel plans (from
the community in Santa Fe) changing almost hourly!??!
Wood heat had been mine and Steven's sole source of
heat through single-digit nights at 5800 feet and I
was DETERMINED to have the same option throughout the
grey, wet winter of the northwest! And, so I felt
intense pressure to arrive as soon as possible and
start to work on my woodpile!!
So, in the third week of November I loaded my stuff
out of a storage unit in eastern Arizona into a HUGE
U-Haul truck and began the 1500-mile journey to my new
life. The truck was much larger than what I needed,
but I was tickled to have a more fuel-efficient diesel
and humored by the fact that I felt JUST like a truck
driver as I hugged the over-sized steering wheel
(oriented parallel to the floor) and manuevered the
beast through its five gears.
I had given Walt and the crew fair warning that I had
a LOT of stuff - albeit GOOD stuff - and was
encouraged to bring it on, for which today I am most
grateful. There is storage space aplenty and I
delight in traipsing over to the cargo container I
have at my disposal to pull out treasures and various
useful items to share.
As I explained - or offered up in defense of my
voluminous belongings - they consisted of ALL sorts of
homesteading-related goods such as canning jars,
scraps for rug- and/or quilt-making, books for a
library, gardening stuff, herbs, kitchen equipment,
and the like. As I said, I was MOST delighted to have
brought the lot along!! NOT so ecstatic, however,
were the guys who spent several hourse helping me
unLOAD all those damn BOXES!!
two foot of snow and getting cold
Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 64