Eurythmy in Center Camp

Mercury in America.

 

A bus named “Mercury” spends five weeks crossing the North American Continent.  Thirteen intrepid travelers (some on for the whole time, others just for parts) come together to create the tour. The bits and pieces of recollections and stories are quick snapshots of a moving tableau still being sorting out and reflected on.

 

Inside Mercury


In an effort to get at the fullness of the experience (or lesson the inadequacy that ordinary words or narrative seem to offer), we proceed in the mood of a fireside conversation.  We respond to the inevitable question of “How was it?” the way we might have behind the Threefold Auditorium in Spring Valley where our bus was “installed” as part of the Transforming Capacities art and science exhibition.  We respond in tandem, growing upon each other’s descriptions as we might at the Burning Man Arts Festival in Nevada, around a fire in the desert brush of New Mexico or over a cup of tea at the annual members meeting and conference of the Anthroposophical Society in America.

 

BRC Camp with Smiling Visitor

 


The five week trip was in a word: intense.  Like all grand adventures there were great joys and sorrowful tears, peaks of comprehension and darkened divisiveness.  The days seemed impossibly dense with happening.  In retrospect, it feels as though we were on the road for months!

 

We were individuals from South Africa, Finland, Germany, Venezuela, Canada and both coasts of the U.S.  Our ages spanned from 21 to 49.  We had come together with only brief introductions and an interest in taking anthroposophy “out into the world” our common thread.  We would travel almost 5,000 miles aboard a Kings County metro city bus from Washington state along a winding path to New York.  

 

Farmer John's field

 


Travel is often good medicine for eliciting presence of mind and tuning into the senses, becoming a student of the stories of new situations and surroundings.  Our bus-tour-as-consciousness-studies-and-artistic-expression research project demanded this same heightened sense of presence.  The type that can be experienced during an especially honest and vulnerable group conversation.  Or during, as it sometimes felt on the tour, a natural disaster.  For, along with consistently new outer stimulus, our experiment in new social forms required an intense recognition of our inner life, the pleasant and unpleasant, as well. 

 

Black Rock Desert

 


We engaged each other in sharing circles, eurythmy forms, a Philosophy of Freedom study group and many, many conversations.  There was much depth and honesty.  There was also denial and friction, impatience and dissatisfaction.  We experienced desert dust storms, fertile farm fields, lush mountain forests and the Wal.Mart parking lots of “anywhere U.S.A.”.  Regardless of our surroundings, our task was always the same:  finding our selves, and meeting each other.

 

Michael's Cabin


Our time together gave rise to many questions that mingled with our exploration of the being of America.  What is freedom and what an illusion of freedom?  How does one perceive the ‘Word of the World’?  How can we support each other to be as aware, free, and present as possible?  What then does collaboration look like?  How deeply do we meet each other in our daily encounter?  What might it look like for an international, intergenerational, anthroposophically inspired group to become a living study of these questions?

 

Did we find answers?  Many!

Did we come up with new, more subtle, more urgent questions?  Absolutely!

 

Sun-drenched bus ride

 

The tour asked for more than any of us could have ever imagined coming into the trip.  And knowing what we do now, it might not be a surprise that, in the end, we made a family of it all.  And like a family, it was all enormously difficult and enormously rewarding.  

 

For additional photos, videos, recollections and insights visit http://www.newformsproject.org/mercuryinamerica.

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On the road again.  Some road.  90 or 94 or 80.  Heading east.  Illinois all around us.  It took us 3 hours to drive 100 miles in Chicago traffic.  Pleasant feelings at the back of the bus.  9 people in various modes of writing, reading, talking, napping.

on the bus

The driver gets a co-pilot in a kid’s folding camp chair.

We review what we’ve been writing in the on-board journal.  Ideas and pictures drawn on water colored paper.  Snippets of poems, scraps of conversations, grand treatise on synchronicity.

Our stops form a trail of experiences – like a subway map from a foreign city…or a treasure hunt.

Farmer John’s in Caledonia, IL – northern Illinois, between Iowa and Wisconsin.

Rows and rows of beautiful organic vegetables.  Morgan’s birthday with muffin cakes.

Evening pizza and music in the barn’s loft with rickety chairs and a disco ball.

Group conversations and a re-commitment to our remaining time together.

Ma and Pa’s road side home cooking.  Vegetarians get the short end of the stick.

Frisbee on a freshly fertilized field = red toes and stained socks.

The stench and size of Texas feed lots.

Exploring a burned out, over-grown motel in Oklahoma.

The pinion trees of Santa Fe…

and on and on…

Mercury in America travels through the south west  – crossing through Arizona.

We spend an entire day outside of Flagstaff, moving our circle three times to remain in the shade.  We share and share and share.  We listen intently and struggle to listen intently.  We all work hard to experience and honor the social form that is emerging.  We lose faith and regain it in an afternoon.

The week at burning man is almost still too close to know what to say about it.  It´s there between us as a shared experience.  Something that we lived through together.  Like a storm or a disaster.  Or a birth.

Here are a few pictures from our time together thus far:

Mercury Camp at Burning Man

Mercury Camp at Burning Man

The intrepid crew at Burning Man

The intrepid crew at Burning Man

Touching the playa surface at our arrival

Touching the playa surface at our arrival

Our Mercury vehicle.

Our Mercury vehicle.

Getting the bus ready for the trip

Bouncing and weaving aboard mercury in flow, form finding form finding form amidst social constellations.
We come together in conscious orbits.
Sage brush and cloud sky big.

There is so much of us!

We wait for each other roadside – we’ll enter the mystery together. Together in this and this and this.

Hoping to encounter the moments of each other’s now.

THE  BURNING BECONS.

Mercury in AmericaLess than a week till take off!

With just a few days before flights are made and buses are put into service, the Mercury in America blog is put into action.

We’re going to try a full-bodied, all-hands-0n-deck type approach to documenting the trip that is to come.  There will be many a scheme hatched, picture snapped and journal written.  We’ll formulate as we go and do our very, very best to provide a transparent account of the cultural research that we undertake.

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