The Power of Community

A circle of friends by Kevin Redpath

We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been — a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Some place where we can be free. Starhawk



  1. Carol said,

    February 19, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Our tribe.
    I rejoice in having quite a number of tribes, each a little different, but often with overlap.
    I regret that more of them are not physically close to my location!
    In F/friendship,

  2. Julia said,

    February 25, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Wonderful photograph! Wonderful words!

    This reminds me of an evening at the ‘Field of Love’, the Five Rhythms dance camp I went to last August. It was Joe’s 15th birthday and he asked for us to have a campfire all evening. There was pasta to eat and then some birthday cake. Tim gave Joe his own axe for chopping wood (a skill he had learnt that week) and a special piece of wood, the tip hardened in many fires. Then the men hoisted him on their shoulders and charged him around the circle to much halooing.

    We sat in a circle around the fire as the darkness fell, the only light that of the flames and a bright moon and stars. Crickets would land on your arm as you chatted with a neighbour. The musicians drummed, played guitar and sang. Some of us danced in the small space in front of the campfire.

    At one point I went to the loo which meant trekking across the meadow to the toilets. On the way back as I looked at this joyful scene it struck me that this could be a group of people from any time and any place – just humans being! I felt a real sense of connection to all eternity and all humankind.

    We shared a lot in circles that week, some joyful, quite a lot painful. But the community of dancers continues to sustain me and to give me the freedom to be my passionate self.

  3. Alison Leonard said,

    March 7, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Our Woodbrooke weekend a month ago centred on the elements – earth, air, fire and water. During the our time with air, we each held a leaf or a feather and moved it near each other’s faces to feel the power and delicacy of air. I think many of us were aware of the birds who live in the same space as us humans at Woodbrooke – I’ve seen herons and even a kingfisher, as well as the moorhens who nest on the lake and the chaffinches who flit in the trees – but we didn’t have time, in our brief 48 hours together, to ponder the life of birds and the miracle of their ways of being.

    I am inspired by birds more than I can possibly describe. During the time that a dear aunt of mine was failing and dying in a quite distressing way, I used to go to a bird reserve nearby and feel made whole again by the lapwings and golden plovers and avocets. Yesterday, again in the presence of a death close to me, I went to the Conwy estuary just as the high spring tide was turning and watched the curlews, cormorants and teals. They have a life which is so near to ours in proximity, yet so far from us in their elemental selves. How must it be actually to fly? To preen? To sense the presence of a bird of prey so immediately and acutely that you and numerous others can take flight simultaneously?

    Mark Cocker in ‘Crow Country’ and William Fiennes in ‘The Snow Geese’ are two writers who have written evocatively about the astonishing lives of birds. Here’s a poem I wrote about one experience while my aunt was dying. It conveys the feeling that sometimes comes over me that it isn’t us humans who are in charge of the world, but the other creatures who share it with us. The poem begins with the word ‘And’, as though this is the middle of the poem. But it is the proper beginning, because the experience which prompted the poem is left to the reader’s imagination.

    Plovers at Marshside

    And it was we who were stirring on a bed of reeds –
    we who drifted westwards, loose on
    the shrimp-rich mud, lifted and dropped
    on the rippling wind

    and they, the thousand thousand
    golden plovers who
    on a sky of puritan silk
    held their turning still
    in a blink of sunlight
    of their own creation,
    possessed the wild moment.

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