Well, we decided we just couldn’t cram everything we had planned into the final day, so we opted to not play Settlers of Catan. Besides, Drew had to play another soccer game, and go to a friend’s house afterwards, plus a friend was coming for dinner, yada yada.
We decided not to play it, but I did say something to Sue and Sean that I had been thinking about. And this is that these kind of predatory capitalist games can be utilized to break the addiction to consumerism, stuff, to selfishness, to materialism in general. How? By paying attention, during the game, to all the feelings that arise when the dice just don’t go your way. Bitterness, futility, envy, revenge, avarice, pride — they’re all there, in spades, though laughed off. But do pay attention, because they do arise! Now I can’t wait to play again.
Meanwhile, this morning, before Sue and I skiied, I did my usual morning yoga/chi kung/tai chi routine, and remembered, during this practice, that I had heard Shadow bark, once. Afterwards, I looked out the window into the back yard, and there were the chickens, right next to the glass. I looked inside. There was puppy Shadow, crouched low, staring. He’d been parked there the whole time, mesmerized.
Sue and I went for a final ski, on very slick melting paths, in another very cool meadow/woodlands conservation area in Acton.
After a lunch of fresh eggs stir fried with leftover rice, and lots of veggies, we all piled in the car to go to Fruitlands, which is best known as the place where Louisa May Alcott’s family tried to start a utopian community. They lasted seven months, as I recall. From the jacket of what looks to be a very interesting book that I bought there:
“They believed people could transform society by following a strict regime of veganism and celibacy, looking back towards the Garden of Eden while anticipating our present preoccupation with ecology and environmentalism. But physical suffering and emotional conflict — ultimately developing into a battle between Lane and Abigail Alcott for possession of her husband — brought the experiment to an untimely end. . . . Along the way, [the author] adumbrates the ways in which idealism can slide into megalomania.”
How could I resist? Me, who, with granddaughter Kiera, had visited the Louisa May Alcott home in Concord, Mass? Me, who had spent a long afternoon in New Harmony, Indiana and became entranced with not one, but two utopian communities that tried and failed to take root there in the early 1800s. Me, who participates as often as possible in temporary spiritual communities, especially those called “Dances of Universal Peace.” I’m a sucker for utopia, even now engaged in another visionary thrust into community via Green Acres Ecovillage.
Well, wouldn’t you know, except for the gift shop, the whole place was closed for the winter, though we were astonished by the view, looking west over the Nashua River Valley.
Sue and I walked down to the house where the short-lived Alcott experiment had taken place, and couldn’t even see inside.
The kids, meanwhile, were entranced by a particular pitch pine,
and were determined to climb it. Finally, their Dad agreed to help.
Up in the tree, happy as can be.
While there, I pointed out the interesting clouds, told Sue they might be “sylphs,” and explained what that might mean. (I had pointed chemtrails out to her on another day.)
I don’t think either Sean or Sue is ready to think that malevolent forces may be deliberately poisoning the atmosphere using planes spraying long-lived “contrails,” nor that ETs might be helping to clean chemtrails up! That’s going just too far out there for these parents who are busy raising two beautiful, strong-willed children to adulthood without mishap.
On the way home, of course they were on screen, playing Monopoly.