Notes from Windward: #64

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!!

two foot of snow and getting cold

       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, 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 exponentially.

       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 full-time)!??!

       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!!

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 64