The School found temporary quarters in San Marcos. Work began: packing and moving the remaining goods from the Retreat into storage. Vitvan continued his daily activities as usual, unperturbed by the change in locale. Some around him were amazed at his continuing enthusiasm and sense of joyous well-being after the loss of Eschatologia.
He told them, "Read your Good Book. It says, 'Not a sparrow will fall without your Father's will.' There are no accidents in life. All events are ordered and are but the working out on the objective plane of those greater patterns conceived in the archetypal world. It is the limitation of our own consciousness that we cannot understand their direction or accept their necessity."
One morning a student sought Vitvan out. Some years earlier she had purchased land above the Snake Valley near Baker, Nevada. She came to persuade him to drive out to that area with the thought that the School might relocate there. Vitvan's first reaction was to say that he was "too old to pioneer again." But eventually he agreed to make the trip to "reconnoiter and feel the pulse of the land."
In June of 1957 he and a handful of students drove to Nevada. They set up camp in Humboldt National Park. They had barely staked their tents when it began to snow and they huddled through one of the worst summer blizzards recorded there. Vitvan wrote of the incident, saying:
"I suppose at 73 I should have evidenced more concern over our plight. But the food was good, the company excellent and I knew from years of observation that eventually the sun would shine again. Besides which, any old yogi worth his salt can control the effect of the elements on his physiological being."
The storm was weathered and the group camped out through the summer. Vitvan occupied his time studying the history of the land, perusing records available to him at the county seat in Ely, 67 miles northwest of Baker. He familiarized himself with what acreage was available for purchase and in his words, "generally acclimated myself to the Field and those around me who would be my neighbors."
At the end of August he announced:
"We will pioneer again. And considering my years I think it safe to say--for the last time."
The land they purchased was to demand much of all of them.
Snake Valley had once been a paradise of blowing grass, churning springs and a great natural reservoir. Wagon trains had wound their way through this valley and many settlers who stopped to camp had stayed on to claim the land. They knew that no territory ahead would likely match the superlative beauty and resources of this fertile valley.
But in the last 50 years over-grazing had changed the land. The reservoir was gone. The grasses had disappeared. The land was arid and unproductive. Topsoil was thin and hard caliche underneath was a barrier to cultivation.
The School had purchased the old John Fielding property. It covered 360 acres. The buildings that remained upright were dilapidated and crumbling. Fences were down, the orchard was overgrown, deer and rabbits had stripped the garden. There was no inside plumbing and no electricity. But to Vitvan the challenge of the place was exalting. On the day they took possession of the property he told them:
"Now we begin. You may look around you and tell me that you see broken-down buildings, a withered orchard, parched fields and a barren garden. If this is what you see, then raise your consciousness and see with my eyes. I can only see the Mother--the Great World Mother. She is asking us to hold out our hands to her, to sow her earth, to channel her springs, to prune her fruit trees, to direct the strength of our limbs to building. She will share in every task. Her love for us is boundless. She calls to us to thrill with her to the pulsation of the eternal genetrix."
next Chapter 16