Communal Nomads

by Raven Glomus

Not all the folks in a commune stay put. There are some who go from community to community.  Let’s call them communal nomads.

I probably fit in that category, although I seldom think of myself that way.  I helped start two short-lived income sharing communities:  Common Threads (1995-2000) and Cotyledon (2017-2019).  I’ve lived at three Boston area cooperative houses,  visited Twin Oaks and Acorn enough times to make me a familiar face there, done a three week visit at Dancing Rabbit, and lived at Ganas for two and a half years.  I am now at Glomus Commune and while I would like to think that it might be my long term home and last move, I suspect that might not be true.

Me at Cotyledon, early winter 2017

I know several other folk who migrate from community to community.  Many of them, like me, are trying to find a community that fits, but there are also those who choose this as a lifestyle, not wanting to settle down in one place, preferring to sample a bit from one community and then enjoy how different things are at another.

Nomads definitely serve a function in the communal world.  They carry news from place to place and often bring ideas from other communities–and pass ideas from your community on.  Their contributions often live on after them.  I know that here I’ve heard people talking about how this nomad who was here for a while taught them this or built this thing we are using or, even, just telling stories about them and what they did while they were here.  They influence many communities and add lovely touches.

When someone comes here that has been to many communities, I will often ask them about the places that they’ve been and get some vicarious communal education through them.  I am grateful for these travelers and I know that others are as well.

It’s important to have folks that are long-term, stable members of a community but it’s also useful to have nomads travel through the communes and to enjoy them while they are with us and even have them to talk about after they’re gone.  I don’t talk about them often here on Commune Life, but I am certainly happy that they are in the community world–and, as I said, while I don’t think about it often, I still seem to be one.

The crew at Glomus Commune, spring 2020.  Anande is now at East Wind Community.

Communal Nomads

One thought on “Communal Nomads

  1. Jake Kawatski says:

    Hi folks, I just turned 70 and have lived in communities most of my life. Coming from a large family (14 siblings), I’ve been more comfortable in large creative households than small ones. My experiences range from Catholic missionary seminary (from age 14-20), group houses in art college, community theatre, followed by nearly 30 years at Twin Oaks in VA, with long stays at Sandhill (MO) and Alpha Farm (OR). Twin Oaks has a sabbatical program to make it easier to take time away. I taught English in Poland for two school years, and summered at Twin Oaks in between,
    The last 15 years, my partner and I bought a big house in historic Savannah, GA and have been renting out rooms, and hosting couch surfers and friends. Since I retired, I’ve been active in community theatre, art and garden circles here. With my partner’s death a year ago, I’m thinking to sell this place and move back to VA. I am missing the joys of rural living! Jake Kawatski


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