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  • Justin Kane Elder

The love ranch


The love ranch.

Looking back on life, I now understand my childhood was anything but typical. It’s easy to see how every story gave context to the greater narrative that my life would become. Every aspect built and shaped the trajectory of my life. The foundation of my childhood has many blocks, the strongest being family. A block that does not follow any traditional pathways.

Back in the Grandview days, my parents were friends with a unique family. This family lived on “The love ranch.” They were known as the “Israel's.” A hippy commune that began in the sixties in Seattle that fled the city to find a safe harbor in the wilderness.

To me, it was a village of friends, a place of adventure, and an example of community for the community. Only later did I understand that they were the beginning of what would later become the word “sustainability” or “carbon neutral. “ They lived off the land, grew their food, water came from their lake, and most of the electricity came from solar power. They had their own school, a community kitchen, and a community hall. Most of the resources were shared throughout the family, and love and creativity were encouraged and practiced daily.

It was a place of acceptance that held many unique and beautiful souls. Friends named Celebration, Justice, Prosperity, and Cleanliness. This sounds goofy, but to me, it was normal to spend the day playing with Clean and CB (Celebration) as we searched for Justice.

Later in life, I understood that this experience spared me from many of the conventional prejudices that modern society places around us. Traditions that say, “Name your child John and Mary so they can grow up and own a house and drive a car to their job from 9 to 5.” It taught me that people are just people and labels were only virtual constructs of the mind. In reality, each of us it’s just another human living in a world teeming with life that is equal to our own. See past the labels to a clean world where we can celebrate the prosperity of love and justice.

Seek the unknown, for there, you will find yourself staring back.

-jke


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