signs of life


the popcorn burned
so she opened the window,
and heard them singing
to one another:
off key,
drunk with divinity.
the sound of god
so close to her
turned dark
to light.
signs of life.
they are separate,
unit a;
unit b.
but close enough
to smell burned popcorn,
to harmonize
alarms buzzing
guitar strings fumbling
whisper talking
pine floor walking,


I’ve been thinking a lot lately (and for years, really) about intentional communities. How things used to be. A few dozen families, living separately but close enough to see one another daily, to share regular meals, to offer help when needed, to care for the elderly, the sick, the children together.

My deep-heart goal, that some of you may already know, is to live in an intentional community. On a bit of land, maybe here, maybe somewhere else. A separate but together kind of place - private homes, but shared community buildings, a garden, maybe a school house, a daycare, weekly dinners & gatherings, and so on. You get the vibe.

At our local Harvest Festival, the present opened a wide mouth and drank me in. I was swallowed by a single moment. Acorns plop plop plopping to the ground, golden leaves shaking free from their bones, a few dozen people moving slowly about, clinking silver tumblers, sipping cider, painted faces laughing, pumpkin rolling, corn maze rustling. The perfect afternoon. And I realized, then, in that wide open moment, that every single person there only wanted to feel cared for. Above all other things.

And every single one could be. They would wake up, dress, eat breakfast alone, or bring their toast and jam out into the picnic area where others would be rising, rubbing eyes, wiping tired faces, brewing coffee. Someone would offer a cup of tea and the other would smile. Nothing would need to be intimate. The entire thing would be subtle, but enough. Tangible. Known. Cared for.

Until that dream takes form, I’ve been meditating on ways to make our town (and now more specifically, our neighborhood) more communal. I realized yesterday that at my very center, my hope beyond all other hopes is to somehow mute the plague of loneliness - in myself; in those around me - to encourage safety, and warmth, and the connection that everyone is trying to desperately to find through social media. We click and scroll and like and share. But you can’t grasp it through a screen - not really, not enough to fill your aching belly and close your eyes and say yes, that’s it. Now I can feel it.

There are some ways I’m starting: leaving introductory postcards in the mailboxes of our new neighborhood, baking bread for our immediate neighbors, deciding on & sticking with a weekly potluck date and location, starting an online group for community minded folks. But this feels like the very very beginning - and I am so open to ideas!

Do you have something you love about your community, that makes it feel more intentional? Is there something you might do to kindle the community in your own neighborhood? Please share in the comments here, or send me an email to start a conversation!


Kristen Hedges