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First, a question: What do YOU remember about Harbin Hot Springs?

I remember the very first time I went to Harbin. No, scratch that. I have been to Harbin so many times I really have no recollection of the "first time". I know that Francesca Gentille took me there. I was still very shy about nudity at the time.

I remember camping in the meadow. I remember walking the trail to the pools. I remember someone having hung glow sticks on string all along the path. I remember watching a photo shoot at the creek at the edge of the meadow. Slender nude women with fairy wings. I remember wondering what was further up the road, but being told that was the residential area and not "open to the public". I remember many years later somebody telling me that was silly and it was fine to walk through there, just be respectful. I remember awe and wonder seeing so many parts of the place for the first time. I remember resenting the vegetarian rules in the kitchen, and always taking my own food prep stuff because of it.

I remember having sex in the warm pool, very, very quietly. I also remember one couple who got very noisy, and security came just as they disappeared from the pool and into the hot pool. I remember when it was allowed to chat very quietly in the warm pool, and I remember how they got so strict about silence eventually. I remember watching how the place grew and changed over time.

I remember Ancient Ways there… I remember Loving More there. I remember World Polyamory Association there. I remember, as a pleasant blur, so many moments there. I remember running the area at Ancient Ways that we coordinated with other parents so the kids could have a place to be, and the parents could take turns watching them.

I remember at Loving More, they created "families" at the beginning. Each morning, I was supposed to socialize with people I didn't know. Me, the introvert. Um, no. Forcing me into socializing is a non-starter for me. But it led me to start creating workshops. The first one was Poly For Introverts. I loved teaching there. Heck, I've loved teaching every chance I've ever had. I remember the conference center and how awesome it was to have warm pools we could actually chat in, like Harbin in the old days.

I remember the RV we owned for a while, and how it slipped it's brakes or something and we went rolling down the hill toward the creek (with us in it), but were stopped by rocks and branches. I remember someone coming to our aid and plugging a small hole that had been created in the gas tank with a bar of soap. I particularly remember the RV, not because of the crash, but because of the awesomeness of having our own complete kitchen.

I remember going back and forth between the hot and cold pools. I remember staying in the hot pool until I could feel my heart beating in my eyes. I remember how doing so seemed to completely kill off any infection I might have been having. A lingering cold or flu suddenly gone the morning after such a soak. I remember one winter, sitting in the warm pool, Dawn told me she was getting close to being ready to get out. So I left before her and went into the hot pool for that long. When I got out, I draped a towel around my shoulders, went and got my sandals, picked up my clothes in a bundle, and got ready to walk back to the meadow. Dawn was all dried off, and bundled up against the cold. I had steam coming off me until I got back to the meadow. Only then had I cooled enough to get dressed. That was such an awesome feeling.

I remember different walks along that path, sitting to watch the sunset, sunrise, the moon, or the moonless night. I remember walking up to the little meditation tea house on the hill above. I remember the mountain lodge and the school office.

I remember the first time I stayed in The Domes, they were sooo cool. I remember learning so much about myself up there. I remember getting the book on the history of Harbin. And learning how the place had burned before, more than once. I remember reading about and imagining the grandeur of the old hotel building.

I remember the love, the tantra, the massages, the sex, the hikes, the quiet contemplation. I remember Francesca, Dawn, Zoe, Leah…

I remember thinking that Harbin was for me what Burning Man is for many.

And I remember the fire. And how so many of us were communicating about it online. I remember reading speculation as to it having been destroyed, and then reading how it really had been.

And I remember thinking that with all this outpouring of sadness, support, and love, that it almost can't help but rise again. I will remember the fire one final time the next time I sit in the warm pool.
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akienm: (Default)
Akien MacIain

August 2017

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