Twenty years ago, when I first came here, you could walk down the streets of downtown at 5 PM and hardly see a moving body. Today it rumbles and bustles, a confluence of New Agers and Born Agains, homeless and affluent, artists and marketers. Trendy shops line their windows with flyers for alternative healers, and dreadlocked affluent WASP kids drumming in the park with the homeless on Friday nights, in the shadow of the spire of the Baptist Church.
It remind me now a bit of 8th Street in the Greenwich Village of my home, after it was "cleaned-up" and the artists had moved to Hoboken since they could not afford the rents and the dingy coffee shops were replaced with fern barns. The environmentalist, who pay oh so much more for their organic food, don't seem to yet be aware that Fiji Water really does come from Fiji. I wish that "green" did not look so "white".
But there is a deep spirit moving here as more and more people flock to the ideas that surface -- a model of power with rather than power over. There is so much feminine energy here that some people have dubbed it "Ashe She Ville".
There is an awareness that the road that has lead us to this point is a dead end.
We gather here. In this cul de sac.
Regroup. Rethink. Rejoin.
We have been recycling for oh so many years already.
Here I get to sit deep within the silence of my community, my Quaker Meeting, in the house on the hill by the University, finding the ground of our collective being, serene in the little island of peace created by generations of seekers.
I come back to feed my roots, to nourish my bones, and mark the passage of time.