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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Marion BS: Open Mike has lost her home & contents 2008 (172* d) RE: BS: Open Mike has lost her home and contents 17 Jul 08

I'm very sad to hear about the loss of Laurel's home and cats. About 5 years ago I took a long bus trip around North America which included meetings with many Mudcat pen pals, and Laurel was one of those who took me in for a few days. I have many wonderful memories of her kindness and hospitality.

This is my recollection of Laurel's habitat... no doubt the facts have shifted in my mind a bit over the years, so do feel free to correct them, Laurel! She lives on a forested area that is jointly owned by many people - the group moved there together in the 60's or 70's, as a part of a "back to the land", communal movement of the times, and have been able to sustain this cooperative model since then. I remember walking around the commune and seeing all the gardens and creative architecture - if I recall correctly, the roads and bridges were made by the group. There was a sauna for everyone's use, and Laurel and I had ourselves a little two-woman a capella song circle in there. I remember that there was a heavy rain and we did some impromptu trench-digging to direct the water away from the houses.

I remember Laurel's house as being very rustic and eclectic, full of animals and instruments, and very ecological and resourceful (ie. wood stove, composting toilet, big jars of dried foods). It fit her very well, as a woman who lives a creative and examined life, and knows how to surround herself with what she needs, and dispenses with what she doesn't need. Right next to her house she had a guest cabin and that was where I slept, and it seemed like an oasis of quiet and privacy. Laurel invited me to come on outings with her and I went with her to a house concert, to her library, and to her friend's house, but there was also one night when I turned down her invitation because I wanted to stay behind and soak up the peacefulness of a cabin-in-the-woods evening.

The fact that Laurel's house was destroyed by a forest fire (as opposed to, say, the kinds of fire that take single buildings) means that this is a bigger loss than just Laurel's house... it's also about Laurel's cabin, and her bridges, and her sauna, and her trees, and her neighbours. I hope that not all of the houses were lost, and that not everybody in the group was uninsured. And I can't help but wonder what this disaster will mean for the cooperative - will most or many be willing and able to rebuild on the same land, or will this be the end of a grand experiment that has outlasted so many attempts at communal lving?

Love, Marion

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