Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fear Strikes Out

Here's a quiz. What does the title of today's blog* have in common with Sandhill's Anniversary? (I'll give you a hint: Annie will find this an easy question—it's the same as what she'd say if you asked her to pick a number between 1 and 100.)

The answer is 37! (In five more years, of course, our anniversary will coincide with the answer to the universe and life, according to Douglas Adams… but I'm getting ahead of myself).)

The original four people who comprised Sandhill's modest beginning
—Ann Shrader, Ed Pultz, Wendy Soderlund, and me—arrived on the land to start our life together on this day in 1974. Yesterday we celebrated Land Day (we always pick the Saturday nearest the actual date) with perfect spring weather and about 80 friends (arriving on 25 bikes and a dozen of cars) who joined us for a treasure hunt, maypole ritual, potluck dinner, contra dancing, and half a dozen rounds in a sweat lodge lasting into the night. It was interesting to observe that a majority of yesterday's celebrants were not yet born in 1974, much less interested in community living. What a journey!

I feel a bit like a grandfather oak, admiring all the acorns who came to the party (as well as the robust saplings of Dancing Rabbit, Red Earth, and the Possibility Alliance—members from all of which helped us eat and dance and laugh).

As a mathematician I like 37 because it's prime (just like my age, 61). For me, indivisible numbers are auspicious, and represent an opportunity to do something fresh and potent. Consider it "prime" time. When my age was 37, for example, my second child was born (Jo), I helped found the Fellowship for Intentional Community, I started a self-insurance fund for income-sharing communities, and began my career as a process consultant. It was a big year. I can hardly wait to see what my community cooks up at age 37.

* The title reference is to the name of an autobiography and a biopic movie based on the life of baseball player Jimmy Piersall. He played in the major leagues, mostly as a centerfielder, for 17 seasons. Though he came up with Boston, he did a three-year stint with the Cleveland Indians during the height of his career (1959-61)—a stretch that coincided precisely with the pinnacle of Annie's tomboy fascination with baseball. Jimmy was a star on those Indian teams and became her favorite player. He wore 37 on the back of his uniform and that became Annie's good luck number. While Annie's interest in baseball had long since waned by the time I met her in 1969, her lucky number has endured to this day.

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