Anyone who has spent time in the West LA area and loved bookstores will probably remember the Bohdi Tree. Wonderful atmosphere. Large eclectic selection of books for whatever path you are searching at the time. I spent many hours there meeting up with friends, trading in old books for new and just hanging out. In 1991 the title of a newsletter caught my eye. “The Fellowship for Ecology and the Arts”. I picked one up for later reading and with that action, my life changed….
The Fellowship for Ecology and the Arts was based in the Gila area, 30 miles outside of Silver City, New Mexico. A retreat for artists of all medium, one could stay for days, weeks or longer. You could pay full price and just be left alone to create or you could pay half and participate in a work exchange around the property. I had no idea where Silver City was in New Mexico but I couldn’t get the idea of this retreat out of my head. I decided to take a week off from work and check it out.
I drove for 2 days. I was told to park in the Grape Vine Campground off the Gila River and someone would come pick me up, either by horseback or 4 Wheel Drive.
I was so hoping for horseback but the River was down so they showed up in an old beat-up truck.
I hopped in and we bumped along for 2 1/2 miles and across the River nine times. I had no idea what was ahead. But when we got there, it took my breath away.
Red cliffs started closing in as the canyon narrowed when around one last bend …. the Watcher came into view…. This sentinel rock guarded the entrance to Source Canyon. (I later hiked this canyon to the Source of the water supply and experienced a near “death” experience when a flash flood caught me and my hiking partner.)
Every day of this week I was in awe. I found quartz crystal in the rocks as I hiked. I was taken horseback riding further into the canyon where the walls would just open up to vast meadows and elk would be found grazing, undisturbed by our presences. Everything we ate was either from the garden or homemade. The River sang me to sleep every night. And the stars ….. Oh the stars ….
My first experience with hot springs was here where the water was piped into a galvanized tub overlooking the Gila River, then later up the road after a visit to the Gila Cliff Dwelling, we stopped at the Gila Hot Springs for a soak.
I was told that someone was needed to help organize files and do computer work for the organization. This was not a paying job but everything would be provided. I accepted. I said I needed to close out my life in LA. I would be back in a month’s time. I had no doubts this was where I wanted to be.