Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday, June 30
Life at Ghost Ranch begins to take on a predictable rhythm as people gather in line before meals (very good food, by the way), sit around after meals talking and watching Ultimate Frisbee and soccer, stroll off to morning worship and then to activities, and just hang out the rest of the time. I can see how this could grow on you and understand why people come here year after year.
For the week that you are here, you are in your own world. It is a safe world with old friends and loving people, surrounded by natural beauty that surely must be a sign of a loving and peaceful God. There is no TV (at least that I know of), limited Wi-Fi and cell phone access; and to find out what is going on in the larger world you have to really work at it, which as far as I can tell few people do. (Except for me, of course, but after another week in Paradise, I am sure that even I would not care what The Donald is up to or who won the Nats game.)
These two days Embry and Jasper do Pottery, which I skip to get caught up on blogging and rest my wounded knee. We are getting to know a few people—all very nice, especially Joanne and Jenny, two women from Hawaii. In line with the blog theme of “…In the Age of Trump,” I can’t help gently bringing up politics. Everyone we talk to is a kindred spirit. You are not going to find many Trump supporters here—and probably not all that many Republicans—and I suppose that figures. Ghost Ranch is known for its intellectual, artistic, and spiritual pursuits and attracts like-minded people. People seem to steer clear of controversial topics, however, lest the atmosphere of peace and beauty be disturbed. I can’t disagree with that. But as a reminder that we are not in Paradise, it seems a whole bunch of the women we have talked to are single parents, many raising kids more or less on their own. Some of the counselors we have chatted with—especially the young men—seem to have stumbled on Ghost Ranch by chance and are here temporarily, somewhat adrift, with their future uncertain. The imperfect world we will all return to in a couple of days will have the same challenges we all left behind.
At noon today we are joined for lunch by the McMichael clan, driving up from Santa Fe–Rick and Karen, Embry’s first cousins with whom we have traveled to India and Southeast Asia and sailed with in Tahiti and the Grenadines—and Cousin Bill and his wife, Lynn. It is great to see everyone. They arrived yesterday in Santa Fe for a family reunion starting tomorrow, which we will attend after dropping Jasper off at the airport. In the middle of lunch a major thunderstorm hits (We could actually watch it approaching.) sending us scampering for cover indoors as winds gust into the 40s and hail the size of mothballs pound the heads of those playing soccer and Frisbee, including Jasper, who was drenched. I could almost hear the parched grass saying, thank you, thank you.
The on-again-off-again showers dampened the afternoon and evening activities, giving us time for some needed rest before the driving continues, starting tomorrow. Jasper sprawled out on his bed and read his book all afternoon, even though his buddy, Chase, came up to the room twice to coax him out. Jasper has been going pretty hard from the time he gets in line for breakfast at 7:15 a.m. until the forced bedtime of 8:30 p.m. I suspect he needed the rest more than we did. I wonder if the bonding of the Fabulous Three will last. What I guess is most special about the week for him is having free time with kids his age from noon to eight everyday, allowing them to explore on their own the magic of Ghost Ranch.