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Monday

Peace and Love Camp - Sedona

It has been a few days since I have been back from the Vipassana and I was ready for my next move. I “jumped off” on Tuesday the 16th as I handed my keys in for my temporary furnished apartment and now was living without an address. I was told not to plan and let things unfold, and that is what I was trying to do, but for a planner this would certainly be a less then mentally comfortable and a little unnerving situation not knowing from one day to the next what my sleeping arrangements would be. I can say with certainty that I was a little afraid of the whole thing but in other ways felt more alive than I had in years. On a good note, my first days were actually pretty incredible. Tuesday night was a premiere of a spiritual movie with reception followed by a couple nights staying with a girlfriend at her family’s estate in Oak Creek, just south of Sedona. I even helped pull off an intimate dinner party with wine pairings shared with the three Sedona friends I treasure most in this world.

As the end of the week neared I thought more than once of just getting a hotel which I guess is the advantage of “jumping off” by choice versus necessity. In my heart though I knew that getting a hotel would defeat the purpose of what I am trying to experience. Unless other free lodging came up for Friday and Saturday evening I knew that I would be sleeping outdoors, since getting a hotel was out of the question. And it would only be a couple of days until I would be with my friend Melissa in the four corners.

I was fortunate to have friends I have spent time with in the Sedona area who are also “floating” these days invite me to stay in their free camping site off route 89A. It was close to April 20th, dubbed 4-20, a counterculture holiday in North America, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis and if I stayed at their camp site at that time I knew that at least there will be a party.

The base camp was appropriately named the Peace and Love camp and I had been here earlier in the week setting up my hammock between two trees away from the main fire. It had served me well in the afternoons when I came here to escape the hustle and bustle of town, allowing me to quietly meditate laying in my hammock staring up at the trees. It could also serve me in the event I wanted to spend the night here.

It was late Saturday evening as I parked my jeep just off the dirt road and with small flashlight in hand meandered down the path toward camp. I spied many more tents and a couple more hammocks.


The couple of days up to and including 4-20 the base camp was more alive than the 5 or so regulars who call it their more permanent home. The tribe was gathering and the amount of people around the fire increased to more than 40 as outlying camp dwellers came down to base camp to visit.  The camp dogs barked in alarm as they heard my arrival. The fire was roaring as I was welcomed by Kate as if I was a long forgotten cousin coming back home for the first time in many moons. She hugged me so hard I could hardly breathe. I felt a motherly closeness to this twenty something year old whose smile was a bright as her crystal blue eyes. She handed me a bracelet she had made that brought a tear to my eye since it was likely one of her most cherished items. Momma Sara was the head of the kitchen and watched over all the woman in camp, although she was not much over thirty herself.

The entire camp was filled with eclectic artistic people of all ages from different parts of the country all gathering to celebrate. Some would call them hippies, others rainbows. I admit not knowing the difference between the terms myself, just that although I obviously stuck-out a little in the crowd, I was welcomed by all.

Although there may have been some beer and a small amount of cannabis, the gathering was really about a celebration of life and family and I was fortunate to be one of its participants. As we all were gathered around the fire James started drumming and Wild followed suit. Anything that was available that was not already an instrument became one. Someone grabbed a guitar, another played spoons as in historic beatnik fashion Jarid recited impromptu verses. Sara’s fire dancing was a personal favorite to watch as they lit up the night sky with elemental designs. Generally a tough life yet this night all was forgotten during the celebration from these genuine heart-centered people.

I walked out of camp about midnight and crashed in the front seat of my SUV under my sleeping bag. I awoke with the sun the next morning and took a few minutes to determine the best place in town to change my clothes before my weekly volunteer work at the Unity church kitchen, my staple act of love for the past several months.

As I look back on this time I wish I could do a better job of describing this definitely misunderstood culture and lifestyle filled with the most intelligent, honest, sincere and caring people I have had the pleasure of knowing.

Wishing you a day filled with Love,
LeeZa Donatella

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