The Day of July 4th began with a phone call from England. It was quite early in the morning here in Oregon to be receiving phone calls. What a great way to start the day though, because it was a woman calling to order our book, “We Need Each Other, Building Gift Community”. The second call was from new friends who had been planning on sharing the early morning parade with us, but alas, a Chicken Slaying Creature of the Night had taken half a dozen of their chickens and they had some tracking to do on that one. They did promise to join us for dinner and fireworks viewing from our spacious porch with a view. This slowed our pace way down and we leisurely rode our bikes downtown to get ready for the parade which is something of an Ashland legend. The last two years we had been in the parade, one with a Transition Town float and the other, giving out hundreds of packages of seeds all along the route. It was a relief to sit and watch.
There were some unusual entries such as the forty some people wearing deer heads who danced down the street in formation poking fun at the excessive deer population in this town, they called themselves the “volundeers”. The theme was around celebrating volunteers. The Bad Film Society float was also quite funny. In general the parade, viewed by around 25,000 people was wonderful. The biggest challenge was enduring the traditional “Fly Over” jets which were only going about 600 mph, were ear splittingly loud and caused great disturbance to the eardrums of all, in the name of “Freedom”. ( Friends have shared how they have to leave town with their sensitive dogs. Some other folks who have a wild fox family living under their deck watched the young kits shaking with fear and then observed how they vanished for three days.Imagine how people facing that sound accompanied by bombs must feel.)
Yet the parade was a joyous celebration of our larger community with all of its variety. At the end we left the milling crowd and biked home where I promptly took a long nap in preparation for our evening gathering. And what a gathering it turned out to be.
I continually ponder what makes these gathering so deeply wonderful. The food? (OK it is pretty spectacular), the setting? ( yes that is fine as well). I think it is the weaving in of intentionality and ease. We had the thought to bring some ceremony to the day and as it turned out one of our friends had already come prepared to offer a beautiful sharing around our healthy recognition of our interdependence and wishes for release from old patterns. When we circled up before sharing our gratitude for the food and all the blessings, we invited people into this plan. First we would introduce the dishes that we had brought, then feast, talk, play, party then before dessert we would meet in the garden for this ceremony. Following that, we would celebrate some more with dessert and fireworks.All of this was invitational and it proved to be the perfect deepening we had hoped for. No, actually, it quite surpassed our expectations. when the fireworks began their phosphorus dance in the distant sky, I felt like we truly had something to celebrate! Over and out! From Zoe