I was up early and the mystery guy in the tent was gone. It took me about two hours to pack up my campsite and secure everything on to Steel. We cycled with all the gear into Point Arena and stopped back into the food coop/coffee shop. I fully expected that I would not connect with Jim and was prepared to move on after a coffee and quick online connection. I no sooner got my coffee and sat down, and in walked Jim…and so begins my introduction to the town and people who make up Point Arena.
He immediately started introducing me to nifty people. First, I meet some friends with whom he paraglides (paragliding really? I’ve wanted to someday get into it, and really only Jim and couple others in town do it), and next a cool gal who makes high-end custom shoes. He then shows me to my new accommodations, which is a quaint house that he literally moved into town from a hillside and renovated years ago. It is now being used as commercial office space, and for various other community initiatives. Some unrented rooms upstairs were just recently set up as bedrooms to welcome some folks visiting town for a project, and I was being offered one of these rooms. A real bed and indoor plumbing oh my! Pinch me please. I can’t tell you how excited I was at the prospect of sleeping in a bed. Jim mentioned that a community meditation session was scheduled to occur the next morning across the hall from my room and that I was welcome to attend. Seriously? I just started into meditation last summer and it has been a wonderful add to my life. Okay, 8:30 am, I’m be there.
After loading in, I ventured back to the coffee shop to see if I could get my technology issues resolved. Later Jim popped in and more introductions were made –I could not have met an individual more connected into a community. Jim knew of my interest in higher education, and said, “There is a fellow in town who you might like to meet, Herbert_Kohl” He tells me that Herb has written some 30 books in the field of education. Well, low and behold, who should stroll in, but Herb and his wife, Judith. Introductions are made. Herb has a warm engaging smile that reminds me of my Grandpa Ley, and is wearing a cool cap with “Resist Illegitimate Authority” displayed across its brim. I feel embarrassed that I don’t already know about Herb or his writings. None-the-less, the Kohl’s are inviting, and we share a coffee. Indeed, Herb proves to be fascinating. His major personal interests within education involved social justice issues (i.e., things like equal access for all, and equal funding of schools). Originally from the Bronx, where he met his beloved wife over 50 years ago one Halloween night. He is a Harvard grad and taught at Berkeley and together they were very involved in the civil rights movement. He shared with me that one of his books, which he worked on with Judith, was an autobiography about Myles Horton, and the Highlander Folk School (Community), in Tennessee. It was a haven for “radicals” during the civil rights moments, and had the purpose of educating and empowering adults for social change. It still exists. Important figures, like Rosa Parks studied there shortly before her historic bus incident. Twenty five years later, Ms. Parks stayed with the Kohl’s at their own place of inspiration in Point Arena, the Coastal Ridge Research & Education Center, as part of a celebration of the historic event. Fascinating folks would be a huge understatement.
Next up, I found the library. Actually finding it was easy –I should say, I rediscovered the wonders of a library and what a resource they provide when traveling. Free access to internet, wifi, and computers. It offers the fastest internet access in Point Arena, and I finally got some of my technical issues worked out. I love libraries! Later Jim treated me to a perfectly timed sunset dinner down at the beautiful Point Arena pier -enjoyed by fishermen, surfers, tourists, and a favorite local hangout. Afterwards we checked out the local music scene at the Open Mic Night in town, which was more like singer/song writers, and a music jam combined -very cool. It takes place weekly in the beautifully restored theater in town. It was very much a community effort to restore the historic building, which also shows movies, and provides space for local performances as well as acts and speakers that travel through. Wow! What a theater, what a stage, and what impressive local talent of all ages. I slept oh so soundly tucked into my bed.