by Valerie Naiman
In 1998 the Forestry Co-op at Earthaven began building the Trading Post, with most of the materials coming from the land. Over the years, it has served as a store, office, cyber cafe and, most recently, for accommodations. The White Owl Lodge construction began after that, built from a sketch resembling a bird landing. It manifested as a true work of timber-framed art midwifed by the Forestry Co-op with the guidance of master woodworker Paul Caron. There is an aliveness one senses when in her presence.
The White Owl began serving the community with a variety of events, eventually becoming a social hub for members and guests. The upstairs became my residential nest.
Then, in 2004, my life took an unexpected turn when I went to India: that pilgrimage turned out to be a 10-year absence from Earthaven and the U.S. During this time, the White Owl continued as a social hub for a few years and then became again a residence. Returning a year ago to live at Green Oaks Community in Asheville (where several houses on 5-1/2 wooded acres served as the ‘way station’ for Earthaven’s development in the early 90s), I found myself more called to be there, developing this urban-edge project, than at Earthaven.
Earthaven is an experiential endeavor that flourished in ways none of us imagined, new blood adding to the legacy of hard work it takes to create community. To see Earthaven thriving 25 years later and know that thousands of folks have experienced the Spirit behind it, have had a first-hand look at what living sustainably can be, is beyond gratifying and heartwarming.
I never imagined I’d be living back at Green Oaks Community in 2015 after building a home at Earthaven, but it’s precisely where I need to be. Hosting in-town classes, riding around on a solar electric trike, caretaking this land is a perfect full circle blessing for me. Now may the White Owl/Trading Post hub at Earthaven be that for you!
The Trading Post and White Owl Lodge at Earthaven are now for sale. If you’re interested in details email valdiosa-at-gmail.com.