Jaspers Origins

July 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had two articles in the most recent BodyMindLife newsletter, quite exciting really. This one was about the beginnings of our eco village project.

Jaspers Origins

By Craig New, Jasper’s Village Resort

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

It seemed all of us had different reasons for leaving the comforts of the city. Some had imagined and planned this day for months or even years, carefully acting upon an inexplicable desire to return to a rustic lifestyle that had been visited only in dreams. Some flew toward it as a lost toddler hurtles toward his mother, frightened by the noise and cacophony behind him that could just as easily mean death or joy. I came partly to be hospitable to opportunity (who I never liked to keep waiting at the door in case she tired of knocking) and partly from a curiosity that kept me up at night. I had only the vaguest notion of the plans – words like community, mountains, veggie gardens were being bandied about – but it all sounded like something from a Steinbeck novel. I couldn’t resist.

We all left the city for the country with varied expectations. For me they seemed to be loosely based on becoming sustainable on my own terms. The problem was I only knew city living.

The honeymoon period was intoxicating. There was a motel business needing attention and after many years of staying in hotels, I was finally able to call the shots. I love late check-outs, so that’s what everyone gets here. I despise unhelpful staff, so helpfulness is my mantra. It was like a real- life version of a Zynga game, and the fact that screwing up might result in a lot more heartache than just an embarrassing Facebook update didn’t really register.

Our gardens thrived on love. From early morning until the sun slipped away, the soil was worked and the plants were tended. We were a happy group. We had few plans other than a vague manifesto based on our city dweller concepts of rural living and at the beginning that’s all we really needed.

Looking back now, two and a half years on, is like peering out of a car windscreen on a frosty morning. The details are there but obfuscated. The thing is, we’ve learned so much and some of our ideals have changed so dramatically that it’s hard to imagine the people we were at the start. It’s easier for me to recall my motivations as an awkward 15-year-old than it is to accurately remember what drove me when we started this project. Although it makes me wish I had kept a journal, it’s encouraging to think we’ve been able to roll with the punches well enough so that our vision itself has adapted so subtly to appear as if it was always there from the start. I don’t think the idea of us creating a wellness and learning centre was apparent in such pure form back then, but now it’s at the top of our list. The things that keep us here are different now, as are the obstacles that threaten to take us away.

It’s a long story between the beginning and now, one that a few hundred words can’t, at least in my hands, convey. But we need happy endings, don’t we? Jaspers isn’t a happy ending – not yet (nor will it ever end I don’t think) – but it’s certainly a life-affirming middle bit. I consider myself blessed to be working alongside such a driven group of people and despite our ups and downs; there is something about the place that puts a smile on my face and a song in my heart. It sounds corny but if you’ve been here you’ll know what I’m talking about.

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