True Grit is a drama in two parts. During Act One, we held a Ceremony of Impermanence and destroyed our beautiful, beloved, community-built cob oven. For why and how, and WTF! — see this.
Before photo of the Wall with Cob Oven.
End of Act One: Wall after destruction and removal of cob oven. (See this.)
That was November 20th. Two weeks later, we come to . . .
ACT TWO: the removal of the wall.
Once again, like ACT ONE, this is a huge saga, with much more to come. We’ve now completed the destruction, the descent; the ascent, the creation (of a beautiful new gateway) comes next spring.
Here is the email I sent out on Thursday, December 1, to about 20 men.
BIG FAVOR NEEDED THIS SATURDAY FOR ONE HOUR
HI to all you big beautiful strong men (and three wives of three others for whom I do not have emails):
We are going to move the friggin’ wall (that currently sits there like a malevolent presence opposing our dear neighbor across the street with no cob oven left in front of it) this Saturday, weather permitting to the back of my yard. It looks like it’s going to be cloudy, which is okay. We need at least ten people, so that this will be easy (not to mention hilarious), and we need confirmation from that many of you now, to say YES I will give an hour of my life to the friggin’ wall! Please let me know ASAP, since this Occupy the wall action is only 48 hours away.
10 AM, Saturday, December 3
Meet at my house. Bring gloves.
Coffee, tea and muffins afterwards.
Thanks so much!
To this email, six men responded yes within hours with a resounding YES, and two said they couldn’t.
The next day, another email, which included shameless badgering:
GANG OCCUPY WALL ACTION UPDATE: STILL NEED A FEW GOOD MEN . . .
Here’s the situation now: signing on:
By the time Saturday morning rolled around, I thought we had ten committed, but wasn’t sure. However, on another level of my being I was very sure that the entire scenario would unroll easily and smoothly, like silk. How did I know? Well . . . That’s where background, and details come in.
The entire drama began six months ago, and worked underground, inside me, for most of that time. Frankly, it was hell! But a good hell. See this. In fact, such a good hell that the entire challenge made me glad, once more, to be alive, i.e., still in this body. I had been getting mighty bored with 3-D life, since it hadn’t offered new challenges for some time. Well, my discontent had attracted an archetypal doozy with this glaring headline: “growing neighborhood solidarity threatened by opposition from one neighbor.” Something like that.
In any case, I knew I needed to respond to the situation with creativity, but had no idea how. After months and months of internal wrestling with germination, the way through became clear. Rather than fight the opposition, I was to yield, truly yield to the neighbor’s demands, which had become the city’s demands, and remove the cob oven and wall at the southwest corner of the GANG which had been lovingly designed and assembled with hundreds of volunteer hours from neighbors, workshop participants, and IU sustainability students. Okay! We can do that! Destroy what we created!
Yes, by turning it into ceremony, a Ceremony of Impermanence, to honor the birth, growth, decay, death and rebirth cycles of all of nature.
We thought the whole process of ceremony and removal would take about two hours. And that is what it took, only, it turns out, on two separate days. A light rain was falling during the cob oven ceremony, not a time when we could use power tools on the wall. So we elected to push that back to another day. See this for the ceremony.
So. Thursday last week I woke up and realized that we needed to get that wall out pronto, because today is December 1st and Christmas vacation is just around the corner, and the city has given me until December 31st to comply with its “ordinance” — or else!
I called my son Colin, and together we decided to do it ASAP, on Saturday, IF we could round up enough men to move the wall. A big if!
But, as I said, I knew we would. Somehow, deep inside of me, the deed was already done, and had been done ever since the way through had been revealed to me out of the deep internal alchemical process I had gone through.
What I knew: that this process had created, “in the ethers,” a new energetic field or space of possibility, and that this field was very stable, and powerful, so powerful, that when the day came to move the “friggin wall,” the event would flow like water. And it did.
Saturday morning, Colin called around 8:30 (the event was to start at 10 AM) and asked where the grinder was (the tool to cut through the wall.) I was sure it was where he had left it, and said so. He came over and, voila!, it wasn’t there! We looked high and low. No grinder! Apparently Jim, my houseguest for two months, had stashed it away god knows where and he was now incommunicado, on the road in Spain . . .
At 9:30 I decided to go buy another grinder. With ten men committed to this project we were not going to postpone it.
At the hardware store, it seemed that they had no grinders left! Whoops, yes, they did. Whew! Colin had also asked me to buy another electrical cord while there, which of course I forgot until I was partway home (Mercury is retrograde during this entire process . . .), and so detoured to another hardware store on the way . . .
I finally arrived home about 10:10. And voila! they were all there! Even Keith, who had not signaled that he was coming. Corbin, too. Twelve altogether. Exactly the right number. Plus a couple of fine women, neighbor Mary (who had to leave after dropping off 15 pair of gloves!), Zilia (who also documented the event as part of her Ph.D. dissertation on community gardens), and, for awhile, neighbor Allison. I told everybody about the missing grinder, the new grinder (and who needs two grinders?), and Keith (who cuts rocks) volunteered to go get his circular saw with a diamond blade. Okay! I can take that second grinder back!
Okay, here’s where the photos start. We began by completing the cut that Colin had made into the wall earlier. But first, Colin had to destroy a bit of the roof so that the circular blade would fit.
The rest of us watched.
In fact, it was so heavy, that after considerable discussion, we took Zilia’s suggestion to make an identical cut on the other side, and move the wall in three sections. We had prepared a meditation space in the corner of my backyard where 2/3 of the wall could fit as its backdrop, but the squeeze getting through the bushes while turning a corner into there, and the awkwardness and weight of so much wall at once proved too daunting.
Okay, so cut a second section, identical to the first, (we measured it), so that the third corner section would be symmetrical.
Keith made the cut.
Second parade. BTW: I was having so much fun watching this seamless process that I started calling the event the “Beautiful men’s flash mob” — since we had organized it in only 48 hours as a job that needed beautiful strong men and so many had actually shown up! And they were all beautiful.
Okay, second section also leans against a tree in my back yard. (Poor tree!) Not sure what these sections will be used for. Any ideas? Perhaps they are meant to go elsewhere? If you have a need for one or both of them, let me know. They’re both in perfect shape, much to our surprise.
Colin will dismantle the scaffolding and roof that used to house the cob oven. We’ll string some wire across and wait ’til spring, when we’ll create a beautiful new formal gateway for this little piece of newly won garden commons in the middle of an old suburb that is resurging into an ecovillage — inch by inch, row by row, house by house, street by street, — over time.
Muffins, Tea and Coffee Time
After milling about for a bit . . .
except for Steve and Zilia, who were talking about the exciting, visionary, new Trillium Park project . . .
. . . and Colin and Dave who were talking compost systems collaboration on the porch —
. . . everybody moved inside. The beautiful men and Zilia (and her Mom Vera) stayed two hours. Everybody ate a second batch of muffins. Two deeply involved centers for discussion coalesced. One in the den, ended up being the DeKist group (those who have or do or plan to live in the DeKist house next to the GANG garden . . .
The other, in the living room.
I was flying high as a kite the whole time, so happy to feel the smooth silk of a manifestation that had been magically conceived in the depths of the unconscious and then spun out like gossamer trailing tendrils into the atmosphere in which we breathe here together, as one, and once in a while, move as a flash mob to get something big done. Whammo! Like that!