The Original Cabin (Apr 2012)

The front cover features the original cabin that is under many layers of renovations and has become The Lodge at the Johnson’s Landing Retreat Center. I am intrigued by the growth process, so I found a few old photos to share, they are to the left. The repeating features are the birch tree and the cinder block chimney. Each addition created space for a growing family, and now for volunteers and community members. The birch tree is frail and every three years we lose a few feet off the top as it continues to expand in width. The circumference is now 80 inches. I am told that birch trees rarely grow this large. The essence of a birch tree symbolizes a fresh start so I am glad to have one growing so close. Although the birch does appear fragile, it is in fact, extremely hardy. This teaches us that in apparent weakness there is often found great strength. Birch trees wants us to care for others in ways that help them flourish of their own accord.

Last summer, Tad Melbin, the builder of the original cabin, drove in from California. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to ask questions about the history of the property. He said he paid $50 an acre for the land in 1960 and spent several summers building the cabin. In 1972 he moved back to California where he now lives on ten acres, off grid, in the mountains.

When he returned home, Ted mailed us many photographs and he can be seen in the top photo. Listening to him reminded me of the American Dream – people buying a few acres of land, building themselves a home and living a simple life, perhaps even off the grid. My birth family did it, and I would guess there are similar stories in your families as the West became settled.

Much as I love being home in the tall trees and watching the ever-changing patterns in the clouds above the lake, it is good for me to travel to the cities and see how the rest of the world lives. I enjoy the quiet time travelling in my van, listening to educational CD’s and connecting with store owners. Please let them know you appreciate the space for Issues.

Then come the freeways and navigating busy city streets, which is not easy for me. You cannot guess how many times I have screamed in frustration because following directions is so difficult for me. Crying releases the pent-up frustration that rises in my gut because I feel so helpless. Eventually, I pat myself on the back for taking on the challenge and surviving the experience. Richard jokes at how amazed he is that I find my way home since he knows I can get lost in a parking lot. I once read an article that said when you feel really frustrated, it means our brain is busy creating new cells so it can help solve our problem. Works for me!

Vancouver took some getting used to as did driving in towns like Revelstoke or Golden. Antony, who writes a column about sustainable living, is my navigator in Calgary. I got to study the city maps last time I was there, waiting for my radiator to be replaced. Not sure the effort is worth the time.

These days I feel split because there is so much to do gardening, building, cooking, hosting people, plus keeping on top of all the paper/computer work that comes with owning a business. I do make time for the two festivals each year and love the trade shows. I like being a networker, linking up folks who want to get out of ‘normal’ society with options that allow them to explore wellness and a variety of other alternatives, as they educate and empower themselves.

For the past year, I have been trying to figure out what needs to change so that I don’t go into overwhelm. I have moved past my sixtieth birthday and now want less busyness on the computer. Issues and many other magazines have websites that are available electronically 24/7. I am thinking of switching over to that process, at least partially. The online version has been working perfectly for the past four years so I am hoping to connect with someone who likes computers and would put together three electronic editions, that would alternate with the printed ones. I would still produce and print three editions, including of course, the Spring Festival of Awareness and the Wise Women’s Festival in the fall. I am planning to start this process in February, next year. Then I can have the best of all worlds, some travel, some networking, some time on the computer, and time to create community and garden. If you are interested in creating the three electronic versions of Issues I would like to hear from you and any ideas you might have. I would also love to receive feedback from Issues readers and advertisers.

Please check out the 2012 program for Johnson’s Landing Retreat Center, www.JohnsonsLandingRetreat.bc.ca. If you can find the time, it is good to attend a workshop, as investing in ourselves will help change the world.

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