Saturday, April 23, 2011
BRIGADOON IN THE BOONDOCKS
DEEP DEEP IN THE BOONDOCKS---LEGEND HAS IT---THERE EXIST A REAL LIVE TOWN WITH ALL THE QUALITIES OF MYSTICAL BRIGADOON--(Lerner and Lowe's Broadway Musical.) I will go find it---but count me skeptical at the outset---Why should the remotes foster better people or a richer life than big town USA.
There it is---out there in the bushes---a bare handfull of houses---what could possibly be so special about this dot on the map--that would give rise to a national reputation--(among the underground cognoscenti)
Arriving on its outskirts---I'm hoping you cannot read its name----I will not reveal the state or approximate location---like so many small and exquisite things its essence is somewhat fragile---I hope to describe it without injuring it.
Already, it is a weekend destination for those fleeing conventionality.
Seen from west to east----nothing special so far---a store, post office, bar and taco stand.
A one stop sign town---some old adobe ranch houses from last century. What---I say--What--- is all the hubub about?
I stop and walk around town----saunter through an art store and get my first clue---It's filled with beautiful things, locally made ----Not least of which is the beautiful personality of its keeper---A JOYFUL AND UNDEFENSIVE individual. In mere seconds she celebrates something we have in common (I won't say what)
Across the street on a weathering adobe wall I find my second clue. And of course I got the story.
Backing away (can you still see the 86 sign ) You get a fuller picture of the 86 club---an amazing impromptu institution ----a place for those individuals who've been eighty-sixed (expelled) from the bar to gather with other expellees--and commiserate with their kind. Tomorrow their sins are erased and they can go back. Later in the evening as I passed ---all the chairs were filled with sodden but not sullen souls---bantering away.
But all I'd seen thus far paled to insignificance when I was invited to a dinner party with these three long-time denizens of the town. Surely one of the great dinner conversations of my life---very much like the movie--MY DINNER WITH ANDRE. Unlike most of my interviews---these inquisitive folks probed MY mind as much as I probed theirs. What great humor and insight. I had found the secret to "Brigadoon's" reputation----UNFETTERED. POLISHED PERSONALITIES.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: Like Brigadoon---this town is a momentary materialization of something--"non material". More specifically, it is a critical-mass of evolved personalities. Just two polished souls will attract a third and the three will draw--with increasing pull--a fourth---and so on till critical mass is achieved and like a collected ball of hydrogen will begin to glow--star-like. Towns come alive like stars by the process of fusion---creative connection. Put yourself in such a town and (if you let yourself ) you will catch the glow and add to it.
In a later interview with one of those three I learned more: One creative soul generated a terrific town library---another spearheaded a community garden--still another initiated a film festival---another teaches the world to build inexpensive cob houses---another donated land for a sizable back-to-the-land community---another arranged internet service for the community--others lead meditation sessions, book discussions and art projects.
Interestingly, the town has no law enforcement officers---the odd misbehaver is subject to community pressure---which usually suffices.
The overriding truth I leave with is that we need not search for Brigadoon---we can build one anywhere.