A Blast from the Past!

parasailing in Cabo Jan 2012
While in Mexico last month, vacationing, my writing life intercepted as it often does with the everyday. Not only because I rose early, well before sunrise, to work on my current manuscript (titled tentatively as One Glorious Ambition) but because of a poster I saw on the wall of the smoothie place near the hotel. We'd gone there because we had a free coupon for a smoothie (and they were delicious!). While waiting, I turned around to read the bulletin board with posters for restaurants, language immersion classes and - here's the intercepting part - a three week meditation course one could take. It was the picture next to the course description that engaged me: it was of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh who once ruled over a remote Oregon Ranch and who played a role in the second section of my book The Land of Sheltered Promise. 

The Bhagwan is deceased but his teachings live on under the name of Osho. I'd known that but I hadn't expected to find the group offering classes in San Jose del Cabo in southern Baja.

It was our next to the last day there or I might have pursued it, just out of my need to constantly research, to see if any of the people there had once been in Oregon. But seeing his photograph was a reminder that it has been thirty years since my friend from Wisconsin and I made the trek there the day after the election when the cult assumed the political authority over the small town of Antelope. We'd known one of the principals when she had been a therapist back in Milwaukee while my friend and I were in graduate school together.

Now, the property the cult developed about 15 miles from Antelope is known as the Washington Family Ranch, a Young Life Wildhorse Canyon site with a new junior high camp having opened last year. That camp extends the ministry to the thousands of high school ages kids who come to the camp from around the world. We haven't been to visit the new camp yet but we will. This non denominational Christian camp reaches more than 750 kids each week during the summer and serves as a place for adult retreats as well.

It was another reminder that we can't see what the future holds but that we can trust the words of Jeremiah: "I know the plans I have for you, plans for good, not for harm, to bring you a future and a hope." In the deepest despair for the people of Antelope in the 1980s, they could not have known how the town and the ranchland nearby would one day bring joy and light and wisdom to the lives of children but I hope that knowing that it does now, brings them some comfort.