At the end of September Liberation Park departed Oak Park, Illinois, for Norwalk, Wisconsin. The move went more smoothly than ever expected, thanks to the help of two dozen friends with strong arms and backs (including one who diligently packed up boxes of books while experiencing pre-labor contractions - thanks Spirit, and welcome to baby River!). We extend an enormous thank you to every one of you. We've been in Norwalk six weeks now, and are more convinced than ever that these new environs will provide a good home for Liberation Park and wholesome Dhamma refuge for all.
We arrived just in time to see the peak of fall color - pictures are on the web site. Now, a month later, the cows have gone back to their home barn and pasture for the winter, not to return until May. The landscape is already looking winterish with leaves gone and the forest interior landscape plainly visible. The jet-black squirrels in the area are packing up for winter, and the coyotes cries are getting louder and more energetic in the crisp night-time air. The first snow arrived with great beauty. Santikaro has taken up the project of identifying winter plants, with the help of a handy guidebook.
Neighbors on all sides continue to be friendly and helpful, and we are beginning to make contact with members of the regional Dhamma community, who have been welcoming and supportive. Friends Doug, William, Mike, as well as Santikaro's parents Dave & Ruth have made short visits and provided moral support and labor for our initial organizing efforts. We've all made countless treks around the land, beginning the process of envisioning where and how to place kutis and other buildings in such a way that they are inobtrusive, accessible, quiet, and practically workable. Mike has been photographing and drawing/painting. We hope his and other artist/designer/engineer/architect eyes in our midst will assist us in this process of groundwork and visioning. Please make contact if you wish to help in this area.
We are beginning to find our way around the local hardware stores and government offices: The materials for the first modest building project arrived in late October, then the ground was leveled and graveled for a salt-box style shed to provide storage for tools & supplies for further building. The floor is now solid and the walls will be up tomorrow, soon to be followed by trusses and roof. A composting toilet and wood stove have been purchased, wood has been cut and stacked, zoning and sanitation permits have been obtained, and building permits are underway for the first cabin.
Building for this fall will be low-key and sporadic as we work around the weather and Santikaro's travel schedule. In the spring, we will pursue building in a more systematic and full-time fashion, and will be organizing occasional work parties, as well as welcoming individuals to visit and join in the process. The major needs at that time will be labor for building and fencing, expertise & consultation in design & alternative energy sources, and of course, funding. The land is also available for tent retreating (weather permitting) before kutis are available. We hope you'll join us in gratitude for a peaceful/wholesome setting for Buddha Dhamma study and practice.
Much metta and goodbye to Sangha member, Jean Stojilkovic who died under hospice care on Wednesday September 27th. Some of you know her from early morning meditation at which she was a regular attendee during the last 18 months of her life. She will be much missed.
Much metta and a big welcome to River Scott, who finally emerged on October 24th, weighing in at 7lbs 12 oz! His mother Spirit has promised to coach us in making Liberation Park family-friendly for our practicing parents. We wish the Scott family well and congratulations.
Santikaro & Jo Marie