Heading toward the sunrise from Utah to Florida.

Our campsite in Estero, FL with new Christmas plantings and flamingos in festive attire.

Our eastbound drive from Utah to Florida covered a couple of thousand miles across eight states. We arrived on November 20 and are now comfortably settled into the Volunteer Village at Koreshan State Park in Estero, Florida in the warm company of friends we met here last year and of the new volunteers who have come for part of the season. Continue reading

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One ghost walk away from leaving Florida.

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In the Art Hall, three new settlement members hear some of the teachings from one of the leading women in the settlement.  Costumes and the acting are amazing!

After three months, this was our final Friday at Koreshan State Historic Site.  Today we leave (Saturday) and it is day two of the settlement’s annual Ghost Walk when the stories of the people who lived here come to life. For Ghost Walk, volunteers dress in period costumes and re-enact memorable events from the history of the settlement in the stories of the people who lived here.  In a series of skits, staged around the historic buildings, visitors get to eavesdrop on a conversation.  There is the interaction between some new members of the settlement who are learning about “The Master’s “ teachings.  Then there is an exchange between the founder, Dr. Cyrus Teed, (a.k.a. Koresh or Master), and the original homesteader of the land the settlement sits on. Continue reading

Christmas time at the migrant farm workers’ camp.

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The poinsettia, indigenous to Mexico, is the symbol of Christmas here.

Growing up on Long Island in the 1950s, our town was on the fringe of the open farmland of Suffolk County, known for its potatoes. In high school, I have a memory of a couple of Spanish-speaking teenagers, who would show up during the harvest time in the fall, sit in on some classes at our high school, and then disappear. While living in New Hampshire, decades later, we were aware it was apple harvest time when we would see small groups of Jamaican men in the supermarket filling their grocery carts with staples for the week. These two widely spaced experiences were my only personal observation of the life of a migrant farm worker, until we arrived here in Lee County Florida. Continue reading

Snapshots from the front porch.

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The lovely and gracious Art Hall, seen from the front, is my vantage point for the snapshots to come.

Photographers have fallen in love with the evening light at Koreshan State Historic Park. I have discovered how they flock, like birds, toward the buttery, golden light that precedes the weekend sunsets. Some of them are like detectives attempting to find just the perfect slant of light, others are on a reconnaissance mission to stake a claim to a spot where they know the shadows will be most dramatic at some future moment. Continue reading

The new kids on the block at Koreshan State Historic Park.

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We cross the Estero River as we walk from our Volunteer Village to work in the settlement.

Getting settled into the Volunteer Village is like moving into a neighborhood. Our new neighborhood is tucked along the Estero River and has just one street made of hard packed sand and crushed shells. A total of about twenty of us, living in RVs and travel trailers and 5th-wheelers, make up this temporary community of travelers volunteering at Koreshan State Historic Park in Estero, Florida. All were here when we arrived, making us the “new kids on the block”.

We were welcomed into the Village by the volunteer supervisor, Ron, and his warm and friendly wife, Joan. Our campsite is directly across from the bathrooms and showers, which is wonderfully convenient.  We discovered clotheslines for air-drying laundry, which presents the delightful prospect of sleeping on sheets that have dried in the generous Florida sun. Continue reading

The Docents at Koreshan State Historic Park: an overview.

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Here we are in our uniforms as we begin our docent gig at Koreshan State Historic Park in Estero, Florida.

On our pilgrimage to here, we have arrived at our three-month winter home in Estero, Florida.  As I was preparing to write this first blog, it occurred to me that the next three months of our pilgrimage suggest a different approach. The blog becomes less of a travelogue and more reflective, more like chapters in a book, or pages in a journal. It may unfold as if one were floating down the figurative branches and streams that come up as Peter and I learn about the place, and about ourselves, as we volunteer at Koreshan State Historic Site as docents. Continue reading