Community Perfect Pinney’s

Swanton Berry Farm We’ve been driving for a few days now. The drive has taken us up the California coast from San Diego and into the wealthy beach city of Santa Cruz, filled with an eclectic mix of individual’s from young student’s walking hand-in-hand to businessmen on their lunch break. After a successful evening of street parking despite municipal code harolding otherwise and friendly paramilitary suggesting the industrial area, we begin our drive further North towards our destination.

A text message upon my waking moments alerts me that the friend who has guided this passage to our most recent destination is in synchronicity with our daily flow. Almost four years prior to this moment in time, I met Laura and Josh Pinney. Laura was wearing her daughter on her back; she and I mirrored one another – our daughters less than a month apart in age. “Would you like a green tea mocha? We’re replacing our coffee.” Laura asked me and then went inside to make me a cuppa.

Instantly, she held me and my small family in her loving embrace as if we had known one another for decades. On that first meeting, we parted the garage sale that we dropped into – finding it on Craig’s List by searching “vintage” and not being disappointed – filling the bed of our truck with goods for $60. Our new apartment was now generously furnished. That afternoon, Josh and Laura shared with us a vision to create community. Community in the woods, community in the wilderness. A garden, events, workshops, a new definition of extended family.

They reminded me of a reality that I had long forgotten and desired to fulfill. Years later, here I was still following their light wherever it may lead. The last I had checked, the Pinney’s had headed in their bus with their two children to find a piece of property to build this community on. “Have you been to Swanton’s Berry Farm yet?” the text said. A few hours later after filling up our water jugs at a local spring in Felton, we pulled up to the windy beach farm. As if we had not been away a moment, we began where we had left off.

The Pinney family was busily making way for another transition, having ended their chapter in Bonny Doon in the community of Jon Young, wilderness extraordinaire. During their seven month stay on the property, they supported, loved, and guided residents and guests alike. Now with changes underfoot, Laura expressed the new tides that were coming in. The strawberry farm is you-pick and we grab seven baskets and head out to the dirt path. Laura’s four-year-old daughter turns to us, “I’ve got to feel the wind on my skin!” And begins to run down the road. Her older boy smiles at us and takes the blanket he’s got wrapped around his shoulders and holds it up into the wind, following his little sister in suit.

Four hundred yards later, we’re squatting down beside the rows of strawberries, “Pick the reddest one’s!” the loving mother says. “I’ve found a community in Ontario. We’re going to go there next. Thank you for being patient with me, Jenn.” Patient, ha! The Pinney’s are the embodiment of the wild heart of the new family. In a short while, we have filled our baskets and head back to the quaint building. We weigh our strawberries and pay on the honor system, dropping our twenty into the box and taking our change.

After another hour or so of conversation like no time has passed in between meetings, we say our goodbye’s. The Pinney’s and all of the unconditional love that they bring with them wherever they go is giving voice to the new story that is unfolding in the collective consciousness, growing little by little through the seeds that we are planting along the way. It is the seeds of individuals and families like the Pinney’s that are bringing the awareness of this story to greater acknowledgement and for that we are grateful.

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