A vindication of flower power idealism... A flat out wonderful film! - Rick Steves

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Hullo, Folks: I just learned of your film and ordered a copy. But after reading through all the great comments, I figured I'd 'write ahead' and point folks to the Morningstar and Wheeler Ranch 24-chapter history (see link to the S. F. Digger site) and photos, etc. at the website above.

I always viewed our open-gate 'come-as-you-are' communities as the southern gate to the Kingdom of New Albion. City folks could try out country living with us and see if it fit. Occasionally a Wheeler neighborhood would morph into an extended family and take wing to the north to find their own spot on Mother Gaia, far away from inflated property values triggered the punitive use of building and health codes. MOre after I've viewed the film. Can't wait!

Posted by Ramon Sender @ 12:42 PM on March 02, 2010

i am the mad yippie pie thrower!!! i have been a hippie since age 15 in la...i was involved with the griffith park love-ins helping green power feed street freex!!! then i became a yippie in 1972!!! that led to me becoming the mad yippie pie thrower and helping to organize smoke-ins everywhere!!! i am 60 now!!! visit my site www.pieman.org!!!


Posted by ARON PIEMAN KAY @ 09:42 PM on February 19, 2010

I lived in the Okanogan from 1978-1980, a member of the counter culture life there, going by the name Shi. I recognize many folks in the film, Skeeter, One Pine, SilverMoon and others. It was a hard life with cold winters & blistering summers, but it was alot saner than what has gone on since.

Posted by Keith Keyser @ 06:57 PM on February 14, 2010

Thank you for this film and helping us relive so many incredible memories. We both spent a few years at different communities...I was mostly at Bitterroot with Buffalo & Moonstone. Michael(Reflections) at Portagee Ranch in Curlew and Chesaw. We saw many familiar faces, many who attended our wedding in 1981 in the Aeneas Valley. We left the Okanogan area in 1983, moved several times and finally settled on a 40 acre mountain farm north of Spokane where we continued our back to the land attempts for 10 years. After I finished Nursing school in 03, we ended up moving back to Gig Harbor to be close to our aging parents.

Our children all took a different track than we expected and joined the military - Army, and we lost one son in Afghanistan in 06. It has been hard to accept, but we love our sons and respect their choices even if they are different than our own. They have been conflicted about our hippie past, sometimes embaressed, sometimes accepting...but loving us and that is the most important thing. Although we live more of a conventional lifestyle now, we still long for community, and feel out of sorts in Gig Harbor. I work as a Hospice Nurse, Michael does construction and works on our grassroots 501C The Ripple Effect which helps to develop water systems and animal husbandry projects in rural Guatemalan highlands. We still love the outdoors, organic gardening, kayaking and the wilderness. Dreams sometimes include returning to the Okanogan Highlands and buying another piece of land. Thanks so much for filming this wonderful group of folks and allowing us to reminisce.


Posted by Carol & Michael(Reflections) @ 05:12 PM on February 14, 2010

Really loved the tenderness with which you treated the subjects of the film; a genuineness and honesty

pervades throughout; the interweaving of film footage from past and present worked seamlessly; there was a message without an agenda.


As they say in New Zealand, 'Good on you!'

Posted by G. leach @ 11:47 PM on February 13, 2010

From the very start, I was quicky drawn into the lives of each person you featured. This is a lifestyle that is very different from my mainstream life, but what struck me most was the courage, passion, and bravery demonstrated by each person to follow this path. And the love and joy they found by doing so. I was very moved and have huge respect for their choices. Plus, I genuinely liked them. Your movie portrayed their deepest feelings and dreams, and it was all done with much care. THANK YOU for sharing this with me.

Posted by Victoria Rodkin @ 02:54 PM on February 05, 2010

My best friend was Gentle Rain. We had our last babies six weeks apart. When feeling flush we would load their dirty diapers on our horse and haul them "down the hill." We would take them to the tonasket laundry on seventh then load the poor horse with wet diapers as we never sprung for the dryers. Poor horse...wet diapers strung all over the one room cabin, making it nice and moist...love you GR

Posted by sue @ 03:17 PM on January 21, 2010

I was on staff with Communities Magazine and have lived communally for almost 40 years. We have a community in Butte County, CA, where our partner- ship has lived on our 50 acre parcel for over 35 years. We recently have had a terrible fire destroy our land and 60,000 acres around us. We have had a hard time recovering from this dis-

aster. see fellowship for intentional community...and communities magazine for more info. We now have an organization working on helping the community www.concowphoenix.org

Posted by Laurel Paulson-Pierce @ 07:59 PM on January 12, 2010

I feel quite blessed to have had the opportunity to see such a powerful and revealing film. Like many (if not most) mainstream Americans, I grew up under the false belief that true "hippies" were just lazy and lost people who were usually looking for their next high--those who were too afraid to grow up and be responsible taxpaying citizens. [Although I must say that at the very same time, I have always admired such "radicals" who dared to follow their hearts' desires.] This was all too often what those of us in mainstream society have had to tell ourselves in order to justify our own vastly overindulgent, largely unfulfilling and ultimately misguided lifestyles.

From a lack of knowledge comes ignorance, and until this very film I was never educated about this type of "hippie" existence. I had always associated it with the most narrow stereotypes of Woodstock, thank you to the corporate-run media that feeds us (all). Because of my very sheltered and privileged upbringing, I also never had the means to be exposed to this alternative way of life. Where I come from, it was all about conforming to the "norm" and keeping up with the Jones.

After witnessing this documentary, I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for these brave,insightful and gentle people. These resourceful individuals and families who have so wisely chosen to live life off of the land and away from the often-hidden toxins of mainstream society. A society at large that due to fear and greed will not support nor condone(and that flatout condemns) this kind of peaceful and "free" movement. It is only the heartiest of souls who can live life with this much raw conviction. They have not only survived but thrived upon the land; I see them as the richest people on earth!

Mainstream society has much to learn from these people who merely embrace spirituality and simplicity over monetary and tangible gains; those who have raised forward-thinking, confident and happy children who are not afraid to be unique and "different" and follow their own dreams.

I know many people who are foregoing happiness in their lives in order to "get ahead" and "make something" of themselves. And in so doing, they have wandered further and further away from contentment. For most of us American mainstreamers, there is perhaps a realistic medium between living as a true "hippie" and not continuing to fall prey to the insidious superficiality of the everyday, workaday "rat race". Because part of the appeal of this alternate lifestyle is being away from the masses; and this special community cannot really afford to seduce us all. For then it would cease to be what it is (and I pray all that it will continue to be for many generations to come), which is a wonderfully "insulated" village of spirits who are giving back to the land, instead of continuously raping it for profit.

I hope that this film is a wake-up call for mainstream society--maybe it will help to wake us all up to the more natural ways of living and interacting with one another. But however unfortunate it may be, the "hippie" community is at times still dependent on mainstream society; and mainstream society needs to become more dependent on the "hippie" community for its teachings.

Thank you for this film and thank you to the "hippie" people it honors. I praise and support each and every one of you...

Posted by Kathryn Tilson @ 02:52 PM on January 10, 2010

Well Done!

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and thought the director did a wonderful job capturing the essence of the personalities.

These stories and interviews resonate with me strongly in part due to my growing up a child of a back-to-the-lander. I found the children's stories fascinating and could relate to all of them in some way. In particular, some of the frustrations of the athletic daughter (forget her name).

As I myself grew and ventured off the "hill" to the land of electricity and day jobs, I wondered why some people choose to do without amenities that aren't bad for the earth or those in it.

As I reach my mid 30's I look back with an appreciation for my youth but still with the knowledge I wouldn't "put my kids through that."

My parents lived in a tent when my brother was born. A tiny tent. In Oregon in the winter. Forethought and planning anyone? And another thing- your kid is unhappy that he is teased at school because of his ill fitting dirty clothes and the adult's sage words of wisdom are "that's their problem, not yours."?

It's a struggle when when the values of your parent(s) are at such odds with what is considered (and, let's be honest, if it's considered so it's as good as is to a poor kid who doesn't like being teased) normal.

The roots of my father's escape from society (Mom bailed when I was seven. She needed electricity) are simple enough: his CEO dad and Vietnam breathing down his neck, combined with a low tolerance for stress. But to paraphrase the daughter in the movie, you aren't the center of the universe anymore when you decide to have kids. Fortunately, as is evidenced in the film and as I myself experienced, there was an abundance of love.

The military son seems as foreign to me as anything, yet I myself will allow my kids new shoes, and make a point to be able to afford them. Because 20+ years later I still remember the embarrassment and pain. Yeah- maybe it's shallow, but when I look at pictures of my Dad's childhood he was decked out with a car, new surfboards and nice clothes. He had no idea...In rural Oregon, different is bad.

I loved how the movie shows that life continues. The fairy Congress gathering is a modern version of the 60's love in. Along with the marriage after 22 years. But we change. The communal kitchen next to Dad's place was gone by '85, along with every single other like minded soul. The Moses Lake man knows what I'm talking about.

My biggest complaint of the movie is I was left wanting more. I wanted to hear the military son's perspective. I wanted to hear what the athletic daughter is doing with her life, and her sister. I wanted more characters from before and after.

I If I decided to move back to the land, which I someday may do, it won't be Moses Lake or the like. It will be a small coastal town with retired artists. It will be nearby a college town with professor neighbors. It will be the mountain town where every few days over coffee I see my author friend on his laptop.

I would love to see a part two of this movie another 20 years from now. Where are they then? Where am I then? Where will you be then? This movie makes us wonder. Nice work!

Posted by Jimmy @ 05:50 PM on January 08, 2010

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