Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My city in ruins...

 Signs of the bitter things ahead...

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Yellow Springs, Ohio.  As an old hippie-activist, this town has been an important part of the fabric of my life for many years.  At one time Yellow Springs, and the small college in its midst, Antioch, were one of the major political centers of the anti-war movement of the sixties and early seventies.  I dare say this small Ohio town was no less significant to hippies back in the day than Haight Ashbury in California.  Yellow Springs was a town of great substance, filled with intellectual and creative minds.  It was a place where people joined together in intellectual conversation that led to getting things done.  It was a place of great power, and great activity.  Sadly, that is no longer the reality of Yellow Springs.

Yellow Springs has become a ghost town, where tourists and wannabe hippies come in search of memories that no longer dwell in the quaint storefronts that line the main thoroughfare of this once fine community.  Gone is the communal feeling of Yellow Springs.  It has been replaced by a adversarial and confrontational spirit of "townies" versus the rest of us.  The town has been ruthlessly taken over by economic conservatives who see no value in the hippies coming to visit their establishments than the green dollars in our drugged up hands.  More often than not, shops are operated by fake hipsters who are more prone to quoting Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly than Ram Dass or Abbie Hoffman.  There are Hollywood movie sets more real and containing more substance than Yellow Springs.  The place now breaks my heart far more often than it lifts my spirits.  It is bereft of heart and soul...

 Where the cruel kids hang...

Super-Fly was perhaps the worst experience of my day in Yellow Springs.  The place was staffed with sullen faced kids who seemed more interested in ignoring potential customers than getting up off their butts and welcoming them to their shop and asking if they might help them find something specific to their interests.  After my experience there, I wouldn't spend a dime in their shop if they were having a Going Out Of Business sale.  I would, however, highly recommend Dark Star Books.  They greet customers with kind words, easy smiles and they'll walk you through their shop and help you find whatever you might be looking for. Yeah, I spent money at Dark Star.  They earned it.

Open hearts and open minds welcome here.

Nestled in a building filled with Aveda hair salons and local artists combines, (where it seemed as if even business cards cost fifty dollars and up) I discovered the wonderful little shop by the name of the House of Ravenwood.  Hippies are welcomed here not as tourists to be fleeced, but as kindred spirits to be embraced and welcomed to their community. This is the Yellow Springs I remember. You can walk into this establishment, and if you have have half a mind to speak your mind, they'll let you speak it.  This is where church was in Yellow Springs yesterday.  And for twenty bucks, I walked out of there with a BAG of beads, bangles, essential hippie gear, and a heart uplifted and a spirit renewed by the fellowship I encountered there. It would have been a bargain at double the price.

 Lorele and Ms. Philana.  Very good spirits.

These two wonderful souls will see more of this old hippie in days to come.  As long as the House of Ravenwood is occupied by these wonderful women, I'll return again and again.  Truly, if you plan on visiting Yellow Springs, your visit will not be complete until you stop in and visit this quaint little shop.  I'd sit down for coffee and conversation with these women any day of the week.

Deanna, Kari and Carrie, the random encounter...

 After my wonderful experience in the House of Ravenwood, I walked outside seeking food and beverage to refuel my corporeal needs as thoroughly as my spiritual batteries had just been recharged.  I'd no sooner stepped out upon the sidewalk to begin my search for mass quantities of consumables, when three giggling ladies came walking up the sidewalk towards me.

It turned out that Kari was celebrating her birthday with two of her best friends, Deanna and Carrie.  As soon as they saw me, Kari turned to Carrie and said, "This guy is your soul-mate!" Well, conversation ensued and after some laughs and an exchange of photos, they began contemplating psychic readings for fifty dollars a pop.

"Oh no ladies," I said. "In my jingly green bag I have several devices that I will share with you, for no charge whatsoever, as my gift to you on your birthday."  Long story short, we rolled across the street and into a bar called, The Gulch.  The ladies ordered their beverages of choice and I ordered an ice water, (I don't drink alcohol) and I proceeded to share with them the magic I possess as an old hippie-shaman.  It proved to be an enlightening experience I'm sure they'll talk about for many birthday gatherings to come.  And it didn't cost them a single penny.  Needless to say, hearts were opened, and both tears and laughs were shared in copious quantities.  It was a grand time.

The lesson of this day in Yellow Springs?  The experience I came looking for, only happened when I opened up my heart and gave it freely to the folks around me.  The hippie they were looking to meet, turned out to be me.  In a town filled only with ghosts of the past, they encountered a spirit who greeted them with a simple message, "Hello, and welcome to the planet.  Have a wonderful and safe trip.  Treat those you encounter with a loving heart, and more often than not, they'll reciprocate and a grand time will be had by all."  There was magic in Yellow Springs yesterday, those who were a part of it will tell you in no uncertain terms, "It felt good, and I'm glad I was a part of it."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello fanboys and girls.

Gotta a little love you'd like share? Go right on ahead and feel free to lay it on me. (Even if it's the tough kind.)

Just remember, the only place anonymous comments ever land, is on the cutting room floor...