Peter Rose
test-traveler/polar star

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salt water solution
polar star
miracle manor
woodstock nation
63 frozen sirloins
cleansing the senses
main street

scene 7

woodstock nation

The House was at the top of a small ridge on Mead St., a dirt road bordered by deep woods, a stone Chapel, tiny post office, Castle Rock, Lake Waccabuc, expensive homes and horse fields. Deer roamed the woods and in winter often appeared on Mead St. looking for  food.

I became a founding member of Woodstock Nation Commune, Waccabuc, New York in 1970. Waccabuc was an hour from Manhattan by car on the Saw Mill River Parkway, exit Route 35. Waccabuc was 7 miles East of Katonah nestled north of Cross River, minutes from Ward Pound Ridge Indian Reservation.

I ate soy bean burgers, tended a chicken coop, beehive and organic compost heap. I wore an "I'm high on life" button across the breast pocket of my t-shirt and aromatic wafts of home-made ice-cream and marijuana saturated the front porch draped by an upside down American flag.

I baked banana bread, ate "cracked wheat" and barely slept. I skipped, hopped, darted and pranced in an unnerving choreography. I climbed hillsides on all fours and spontaneously doused myself with mixtures of pond water and dead leaves. I was annoyingly positive and always ready to do something and then something else.

Everyone said I didn't need marijuana. I was "high on life," into the mess and rapture of communal living.

My ''natural high" reached it's peak on Castle Rock. When I asked what "Castle Rock" was everyone laughed in mysterious unison. We set off down a dirt road into the woods and climbed higher over rocky terrain to the summit of a skyscraper-like-rock. Empty beer cans, torn head bands, single socks, ripped leather sandles, a few pair of panties and roach clips littered the patchy surroundings.

I felt a ritualistic foreboding as we approached the top. I leaned out over the peak to see Lake Waccabuc and three young girls paddling their rowboat in holy inertia. The expansive sun-drenched lake glimmered and Steve asked me if I wanted to jump. I was a nervous wreck but I'd already seen the girls and they'd seen me. I couldn't disappoint. I took off my sneakers, shorts and t-shirt, careful not to lose my "I'm high on life" button. Naked, I began making strange gestures and pirouettes.

Steve was experienced and said: "Keep your hands to the side and point your toes!" I began swiveling and swaying, fidgeting and making small jumps. I hadn't jumped and was already in too deep. In a high-strung two step for the benefit of all to see I entered a state of articulate abandon, hopping lightly like a disabled roadrunner to the summit's edge leaping forty feet into the lake. I was bird, man and whistling stone. The girls in the row boat paddled in earnest to pluck me from the lake.

Who jumped?

My entry wasn't perpendicular and my lower back throbbed for days.



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