After more than three decades of being in community, my friends Bob and Mary Ann and I, said to one another “now let’s grow old together.” That was the beginning of a quest toward something that is, in the words of other old friends who have joined us, “light in impact, yet abundant in soul”. So when Charlotte and Phil found this wild and intriguing 19 acres nestled just within charming Shepherdstown, we banded together to make that land the place where we could plant our dream of vital and vibrant elderhood.
The thread I have followed since the mid ’70s winds in many loops, but always weaves around spirit and community. Trailing from it are varied vocations: editor and writer for Sojourners magazine and other publications, Montessori educator, administrative coordinator and chief herder for Rolling Ridge Study Retreat and Friends of Silence (a non-profit organization of spiritual seekers and contemplatives). I have been a dance artist with a handful of modern and liturgical dance companies. A wife, mother, and grandmother, always I have delighted in creating, with my beloved husband Billy, a family within community.
Now I revel in living at Rolling Ridge Study Retreat, an intergenerational community living on and with 1400 acres of forest and streams on a small mountain foothill of the Blue Ridge in West Virginia. I look out the window of the home office that I run for Rolling Ridge and Friends of Silence and see the wild and tangled woodlands, which call to me daily. I lead retreats that explore the thresholds of wilderness, soul, and story; I write; I still dance. And, with others, I am building the new story of Shepherd Village.
I’m drawn to Shepherd Village because it says that growing older doesn’t mean having to lose the possibility of living in a community of people who love and care for each other on a daily basis. For the last part of my life’s journey I want to be around people I enjoy —people I trust and who I want to give myself to, people who are willing to give themselves to the rest of us. I’m not a dreamer but I’ve always been motivated by dreamers, and we have some good dreamers at Shepherd Village!
Our hopes for Shepherd Village have always included designing our structures and life together in a way that encourages meaningful connection. At the same time we also want to encourage each other to claim the space and time apart that we need. I’ve learned that a cohousing model encourages and enables participation in the decisions that affect our lives. I don’t want to be involved with everything at Shepherd Village, but I want to work on the things I’m good at and hope there is enough interest and engagement by others to ensure that what we create together represents what all of us want to live in.
I’m 63, have been married to Lindsay for 33 years and would be happy to have another 33 years with her if she will have me. We have three sons and four grandchildren. Spending time with them is one of my sweet joys.
Lindsay and I have lived in community, with greater or lesser intentionality, for most of our adult lives. We currently live on a mountain in the middle of a forest and near a beautiful river that will be hard to leave when Shepherd Village is built.
I bring the sensibilities of a social worker who has worked with emotionally and behaviorally disabled kids for 25 years. My current plan is to work full-time a bit longer if the kids will have me.
I’d feel better about myself and the world if I did yoga and exercised on a more regular basis. I look forward to a time when I can play more golf.