The Equinox and the “Changing of the Guard”
By Brandy Gallagher
What an incredible time of shifts and change! Not only has the season changed dramatically but also there is a huge sense of ‘changing of the guard,’ or at least of the stewardship/mentorship behind the protection of ‘place’ (land) and people, and processes. OUR dearly beloved friend Bill Blount not only passed from this world in January but we were able to honour his final wishes through being part of OUR ‘Green Burial Project: The Commemorative Conservation Scattering Grounds.’ On March 21st on the Anniversary of the exact date of OUR ECOVILLAGE moving to this beautiful farm, we gathered with ‘Bill’s Angels’ Tama, Isabella, and myself, along with Garth (former Hospice worker) and OUR whole community at large, to celebrate his life and legacy. Bill helped to birth the ‘Commemorative Conservation Scatterings Grounds’ project which was written with the Green Burial Council of North America, and he designed his legacy as part of this work. This is an outstanding example of the care of a farmer to see his farm have a succession plan for when perhaps farm families own children might not even wish to continue on the family farm. It is an example of how young farmers can be supported/mentored by older farmers to work in small clusters of families/individuals to access affordable farming land and to learn how to work with the deep connection to that particular farm. Bill stands as an example to all of us of how someone can change their life and their life outlook! Bill’s ashes were placed in a brand new Peace Pole on Vision Hill (not far from OUR Co-founder Eialina’s ashes beside the original Peace Pole also on Vision Hill)…..and the pole displays a great yet simple statement: “GRATEFUL.” A loving circle honours his Legacy going forward from that day and the marking of OUR ECOVILLAGE’s 20th Spring Equinox Ceremony!
This Equinox also marks another day or life celebration as we gathered in Victoria with Robin and Nikki to honour the passing and legacy of John Shields. Many have known John in different ways, but as OUR ECOVILLAGE I can say that we best knew John for assisting in the transition of all of the hard work OUR team put into creating a Covenant with The Land Conservancy of BC over many many years. Through this, he ensured that as the world of TLC transitioned, OUR ECOVILLAGE was not caught in the unfoldings. John also stood as ‘Godfather’ for my young daughter – who has been without most of her Grandparents for her life. This is a powerful image for a child to grow up with elders and activists who are willing to stand in various ways to lead forward as hopeful role models for our children’s children’s children – and John certainly held that passion right till the day he passed with his own journey of ‘Conscious Death.’ May his best work and all he laid his hand to in a good way – be a Legacy which ripples echoes into the infinite.
With the 20th Anniversary of OUR ECOVILLAGE, this all has meant a deep dive of grounding and ‘Villaging’ for OUR team. Much of OUR energy is turning towards relationship/community building in a different way and we have been so privileged to support 10’s of 1000’s of people every year through OUR relatively small Non-Profit and Cooperative organizations. These days, we are slowing down and focusing on sustaining OUR work in different ways. No longer are we young and nibble enough to run full out with over 75+ volunteers such as last year! 2019 marks the time of ‘narrowing the driveway’ – and not choosing to ever ‘close the gate’. It is clear that OUR ECOVILLAGE has been a life-changing and culture changing experience in an amazingly positive way for 95% of the folks who participate in some way(s) with the projects/peoples/place of OUR 25-acre Demonstration Site and Education Centre. It is also recognized that this much innovation, life shift, and world view & perspective change is not for everyone. Rather than attempting to be a ‘one stop shop’ for the consumption of education courses (as that is what some folks in the wider world consider as a risk these days for ecovillages/intentional communities), or a ‘one size fits all’ for the change process and comfort zone shift of all who come to engage as visitors/guests/participants – OUR interest has turned to deepen the work and the relationships which have been most positive over these last decades. It is easy to get caught in the aspects of life which do not work or the challenges, and yet it has always been the resiliency model of OUR ECOVILLAGE to stay with an eye on the horizon of possibility, peace building, and the potential of a future for our children’s children’s children. With the newest realizations of climate disruption issues and the uncertain future for bio-diversity, social, and economic realities; we recognize that the time to dig in deep with each other is at hand all the more!
With so much heartfelt shifting as of late, it also is in OUR awareness that we are all so grateful for a fantastic team of new staff and project folks who have come to work together for an even better future for this year. We intend to host as much outreach and in-reach opportunity as possible! We especially wish all to note that we will be offering OPEN HOUSE days with FREE COB WORKSHOPS and time to simply gather. This, is OUR way of honouring ourselves and all of those who have come over the years, or still wish to come now and in the future, by giving back anything that can be shared from the lands/place to which so many of us have given so much intention and love towards a seemingly impossible possibility. We will post this and the ongoing range of gathering opportunities to come together and truly stand for creating such a unique space in all of Canada (and to be known for this around the world).
There is much to solve or work towards here at OUR ECOVILLAGE, and OUR Coop is grateful to be doing this with all of you. Please come for a visit/meal/stay with us soon 💞