Saturday, April 23, 2011


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.


john patrick said...

Thanks, Randy. Wish I was there for the dinner conversation...

judilyn said...

The name of the town is shown in the third and fourth photos - if you want to change anything to retain the privacy of that name.

weston said...

"Interestingly, the town has no law enforcement officers---the odd misbehaver is subject to community pressure---which usually suffices. "

Is this the same Arivaca where a man and his 9 year old daughter were brutally murdered in their own home by anti-immigrant militia members?

If so it doesn't sound too much like Brigadoon to me.

Randy said...

Thanks Weston---and of course you're right---same town. I reach too far in suggesting that the whole town glows with happiness it does not! A more careful analysis might show that remoteness, cheap land and little government oversight will attract the full spectrum of maverick personalities. Lucky me to have engaged the brighter end of it. I stick to my central point that polished personalities are attractive, tend to draw others in until a creative, self-enhancing and sustaining cluster results. To be in such a cluster is one of life's great joys.