Lund Reunion remarks

August 15th, 2015

I procrastinated until early this morning to look closely at the speaking assignment in the program that Tai had given me:

Tell “Why this reunion and the community of Lund is so important to me.” You have three minutes.

She’s a born teacher and the project which she’s taken on—making a film about this community then and now—is an educational endeavor on a grand scale. Using the medium that’s most powerful and most accessible to the widest audience, she’s telling the story of young people desperate about the direction that the society they inherited was going and hopeful about creating alternatives for themselves. This is a largely forgotten story that the whole world can still learn from today. This is our story, and she’s brought us together here this weekend to participate in the project, and by so doing, to re-educate ourselves.

Like a good teacher, Tai designed her assignments to tap into the individual concerns of students. The topic that she’s given me, I realized as I thought about it, resonates with what I’d stated in the invitation we sent out last December:

For the last couple of years a number of present and past residents of Lund have tossed around the idea of organizing a reunion of people whose memories of the place go back to the late 1960’s and 1970’s, along with their descendants and friends.

We thought 2015 would be a good time for a couple of reasons. Sadly, the number of us who can share those memories is shrinking.  Happily, Sandy Dunlop has been encouraging people to submit articles about their recollections for publication in The Lund Barnacle and Tai has been working on a documentary film about that time and place, including in-depth interviews, archival movies and photographs, and present-day footage.

A gathering of people who shared the adventure of coming to the End of the Road 35 to 45 years ago would allow us to pool interesting tales of the past, to catch up on what’s happened since then, and to reflect on the role of that place and time in the stories of our own lives.

As I did my homework this morning, the words of another teacher, Henry David Thoreau, came to mind–words which stirred me into undertaking that adventure in 1970 and which today close the great gap of time between then and now:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”



In the Swim: Musings on Meditation under Water

January 26th, 2015

1. Wendy’s “Water”

On May 24 last year, I went to the Steynberg gallery on Monterey St. to attend a concert by Shadowlands, a new local musical group consisting of Bob and Wendy Liepman and their collaborators Mark Davis and Karolyn Hausted. They were introducing songs they’d written in preparation for recording them on a CD to be released early in 2015. I’d made a contribution to their crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter because I admired Wendy’s dedication to feeding the Homeless and because I enjoyed her earlier songs, many of which seemed to me more like religious hymns than folk tunes.

Their first piece was the album’s title track, “Shadowlands,” a dark evocation of the mental condition we usually call depression, but which in earlier times was known as melancholia—a state associated not only with illness but also with deep thought, fertile creativity and spiritual awakening.

Next was a busy, nervous piece which began, “O restless mind you’re working overtime,/when you chase (thoughts) what do you hope to find?”— a rebuke of the annoying monkey mind that meditators try to quiet.

Then came a long anthem whose chorus repeats “Every worldly thing will evaporate”—an adaptation of the perennial poetic refrain, Ubi Sunt, or where have they gone?–and an explicit assertion of the first of Buddha’s four noble truths.

The song which affected me most that night was called “Water.” It was about a connection between swimming and meditation. Read the rest of this entry »

Brian Gavin, in memoriam

November 8th, 2014

brian gavin








There are not many people in the world I feel close to, and Brian was one of them, even though my relationship with him was formalized and very brief.  Shortly before receiving the news about his death I was thinking about contacting him to talk about a noticeable falling off in my meditation practice during the last two weeks, partially due to a cold that kept me up at night and disrupted my early morning routine.

I thought of Brian as my personal teacher, since he conducted most of the sessions at the three-day retreat I attended last February and agreed to have regular phone consultations with me afterward. Those conversations were always serious but also punctuated by laughter and irony on both sides. During them I felt I had much to learn and nothing to hide. At one point he mentioned that he was looking forward to a long retreat in September with anticipation and some apprehension. That was typical of the frank way we communicated, despite the distance I felt from the variety of samatha experiences that qualified him as a teacher and that he described with such scientific precision.  A few months later we both agreed to forgo the conversations until something I needed to talk about came up. Now it’s too late.

But then again, maybe not, since he remains present to me often during my practice, repeating the assurance that if and when I find the time to attend a longer retreat, a door to the reality he knew would undoubtedly open for me.


Lund Farm Day Camp: An Article in the Lund Barnacle

October 15th, 2014

Lund Farm Day Camp operated for three two-week sessions during the summers of 1973 and 1974. 25 to 35 kids in grades 1 through 8 from all over the district attended each session. The camp was headquartered at the old homestead on the Lund Highway owned today by Ed and Maggie Bereziak and at the time by Steven and Janet Marx, and previously by the Bleiler, Larson and Carlson families. Its original hand-adzed vertical cedar walls housed the cookshack for a logging camp in the 1890’s.

The camp’s activities included caring for a herd of goats, 35 chickens, a pair of ducks, two sheep, six rabbits, and a pig named Snorky Porker. Children also tended, harvested and preserved vegetables from a large garden and fruit from the ancient orchard, baked pies in the outdoor woodstove, built cedar-stave fences, sheared, washed, carded, spun and crocheted sheep’s wool, and dammed up the stream for a swimming hole. Recreational activities included a morning singsong, capture-the-flag in the pasture, writing and performing plays, swinging on a huge zunga and in a gillnet hammock, along with hiking and swimming.

Each day concluded with a gathering at which the children contributed reports recorded in a daily log. A sample: “We played on the big Zunga. Worked on the dam. Found a frog and three water snakes. Peter came and cut hay. Fred came to take pictures. One chicken got away and we caught it again. Chased Laurie and Steven with hoops. Mulched lettuce and corn. Cleaned up cubbies. Fed ducks. Baby goats nursed off Mama. Michael and Val clipped chicken wing. Flag making. Played drama games. Made birthday cake in Joanne’s loft. Waded in pool. Joanne drove Kent to hospital. Went to beach. Drank out of stream. Ken and Pauline learned to swim. Steven took a group to climb mountain.”

The camp’s emphasis was on teaching some of the skills required to live in the bush in an earlier era. According to an article in the Powell River News of July 16, 1973, “The first batch of children at the camp have almost completed a scale-model of nearby Craig farm. They were taken on a tour of the farm by its owner, learned its history and are now reconstructing the site…”

Families paid $10 per child per session. During the first year students were brought to camp by carpool. The second year’s budget included a bus and driver for daily pickup and delivery. Each week included a one-night sleep-over, either on the farm or on Savary Island, transportation provided by local tugs and fishboats.

The original idea for the Camp was dreamed up by Janet and Steven in early January 1973, when their unemployment insurance ran out. It started to materialize as a result of brainstorming and collaboration with Kenneth Law, who settled on the farm in mid-February. It was funded by Opportunities For Youth, a federal program encouraging local community development.

In addition to the organizers, the Camp offered ten weeks of gainful employment to Gerry Karagianis, Laurie Derton, Joanne Power, Elaine Sorenson, Anne Wheeler, Pam Huber, Randy Mann, Mike Nelson, Rob Dramer, David Creek, Gae Holtby and Janet McGuinty. It was supported by the Powell River School District, the Sliammon Band and many community volunteers.