Thursday, October 25, 2012


We went to the Handmade Parade in Hillsborough on Saturday. The paraders wore paper mache masks and puppet heads they'd made in workshops in the months before the big event. There were third graders and long-haired hippie drummers and Girl Scouts and ten-year-old boys who seemed like they'd rather be elsewhere. There were a lot of folks on stilts. Here, let me find a picture for you:

They were cool to look at, though the thought of walking on stilts made my knees hurt.

Will loved the parade (he took all the pictures) and would love making a big paper mache lizard or bird puppet. But actually walk down the street in front of hundreds of people? I don't think so.

The older I get, the more willing I am to be goofy in front of other people. I would march in the parade, especially if I could play the drums. I probably wouldn't dress up funny, though. Are you a costume person? I'm not, not really. Can we divide the world up into people who like to wear costumes and people who don't?

So, no, I wouldn't dress up, but I would walk and sing and play drums and enjoy being around all the wonderful costumes and the people on stilts.

I had lunch today with my neighbor lady friends, Amy and Kathryn. They are both interested in an intentional community that's being built about 15 miles away from here. It's called Hart's Mill, and the point is to make a community that's self-sufficient and sustainable. They want to provide for as much of their energy needs as possible and grow as much of their food as they can.

Amy's interest in this community seemed to stem from a "let's all live in peace and harmony and work together for the common good" stance, while Kathryn espoused a "I want to grow my own food because the stuff you get in the grocery store will kill you" philosophy. 

Because the Man and I are known in our neighborhood for having a super-sized garden, Amy and Kathryn wondered if we had any interest in living in a community like Hart's Mill. The answer to that was a fast and furious no (okay, it was a mumbled "I don't think so," but you get my point). I told them it was because we're such introverts that sometimes community is hard for us. But really it's because we don't actually like other people.

Okay, that's not really true. There are all sorts of people the Man and I like. We like you very much, for instance, and our neighbor lady friends Amy and Kathryn. But we tend to be stubborn and ornery and cussed. We may not be the best people to invite if you're planning an intentional community. We might forget to come to the committee meetings and the communal suppers.

The nice thing about parades and harvest festivals and church and lunching with neighbors is that you get to be in community--and then you get to go home. The part about being able to go home is very important to me. I need a place where I can take off my paper mache mask and step off of my stilts and sit on the couch and be very, very quiet. No meetings, no communal dinners, no drum circles. Just home.

11 comments:

Tracy said...

We had a short experience of living on a property with some really good friends. I would not repeat the experience with anyone, especially people I love to spend time with. We have had a couple of friends suggest it since the aforementioned experience. We just reply "no, we love you too much" and that is the end of it.

Apparently common goals are not enough when you need your well-defined space. And like you, I do.

wayside wanderer said...

Amen! I couldn't agree more.

Love the pictures!

magsmcc said...

I quite like to dress up and have bought stripey orange and black tights for next week. Mind you, they are for girls aged 14 so who on the pumpkin am I trying to kid? I would like to drum. But I think I am still a bit too repressed. Maybe in ten years time I'll not care a hoot, and go off to drumming lessons with tights barely hitched around my spreading girth. Now, that thought I like! Why "intentional"? Does it not imply that maybe the community will never be built because everyone id only actually intending to get there? I have just signed up as a member of a community. But we too are difficult charcters in any of the communities to which we find ourselves linked. Now I am feeling most unsure!

Pom Pom said...

You say it so well, good writer. I went through a phase when I read a lot of books about living in community and talked to friends about it, but I am so glad it didn't happen (not even close) because my tendency toward privacy would have come out and Bill and I both would have ended up being the poops of the group.
I don't lean toward costuming but I do dream of wearing my own version of clown clothes on an every day basis.
I love the way you ended this post. I need to write my personal narrative for my first period class RIGHT now. Yikes! (BIG HUG!)

Sandy H said...

Agreed. Intentional communities always sound good to me in theory, but I have to remind myself that I'm the one that wanted to move so our neighbors wouldn't be quite so close. Breathing room, I call it. Anti-social-ism, my husband calls it. (Can you tell he's the extravert in the equation?) I'd love to go to that parade, though--looks wonderful! I might wear a bright pair of socks. Closet costume, as it were.

Susan said...

We have friends who are big costume people. Every birthday is celebrated with an enormous party and there are expectations for elaborate costumes for everyone who attends. I find it exhausting. I just want to stand in the corner quietly talking to one or two of the party goers. I prefer meaningful quiet conversations over the blustery party revelry that these events bring. Is this a result of being an introvert? Maybe. I like to think, however, that it's just that I feel comfortable in my own skin and would rather go to gatherings in my own clothes and as myself. Like me as I am or lump it. I don't want to put on a false persona and wear a costume. Ever.

Susan said...

There's something about costumes that reminds me of Halloween costume judging in elementary school. I always felt like a fake standing there as an Indian or Pippi Longstocking. Then it was painful waiting to see if I had pulled off the fake me in an an award winning way. Even grown ups in costumes seem to be stuck in a race for the most clever or elaborate costume. Maybe that's also a part of why I don't wear costumes.

Heather said...

I'm like you. I enjoy being with the people I choose to get together with, but I need my alone time. I also need to run my life and home the way I want to. I feel that as a member of an intentional community, there might be too many rules.

I love the parade pictures. Now, that is something I wish our community did do. So artistic and creative.

Gumbo Lily said...

I'm with you....I need the "get to go home part" and be by myself too. No thanks on communal living. Raising my own garden -- yes, but not living with people....not even nice people.

Nice parade! I'd play the kazoo in a parade. I did that once as an adult.

Jo said...

Yes, I'm with you on that one. Like other people (well, some of them), but not when I am in a meeting with them, being 'intentional'..

On another subject entirely, i sat down this week with a cup of tea, and one of your books, which shall remain nameless (!) but features a war and a moon... loved it, loved it, loved it. Will introduce my daughter to your books, and try to lay my hands on all of them.

debbie bailey said...

Amen to that, sister! My feelings exactly!