I arrived at Easton Mountain on the afternoon on Saturday, July 28, after a very pleasant and scenic ride from Albany, northward up the Hudson River valley. Easton Mountain is an “intentional community”, of sorts with an integrated operation that serves to generate income for, and participation in, the community, as well as to promote the ideas of community and social justice more generally. It’s part commune and part organised retreat, with both parts serving to support the other.
I came to Easton to attend a week-long all-male retreat focussing on “Self, Sex & Spirit”. It was a busy week of workshops and group discussions covering topics including identity, voice, spirituality, massage, theatre, compassion, movement, erotic energy, improvisation, poetry, art, yoga, writing, and combinations thereof, along with plenty of swimming, games, volleyball, and other activities.
This is a part of my ongoing quest to experience my life as a variety of diverse but integrated activities that challenge both my own conventions and those “recommended” to me by the world at large. I feel compelled to defy many of the “rules” of social convention and propriety, whether in search of more meaningful rules that better suit my personality, or in order to test those rules and adopt them with a greater sense of ownership and awareness than if I just accept them on the basis of their being approved unquestioningly by tradition, the family model, religion, or economics.
Partly because I enjoyed the week here so much, and partly out of deference to my complaining knee, I have been re-examining my travel plans. I am due to arrive in Tannersville, PA (in the Pocono Mountains) for a large nudist gathering on August 17th, and had originally planned to spend two weeks cycling to it via a semi-circular route through Boston. However, I have decided to remain here in the community as a “work-study” participant, and plan to cycle toward Pennsylvania on August 13 or 14. After a week of running around in the woods au naturel, interviewing participants, I will once again take stock and decide what my forward path will be.