OPINION: Embracing 'Hippie Family Values'
For a movie that was filmed over the span of 10 years, “Hippie Family Values” was over too quickly for my liking. This just-over-an-hour documentary, a project from the University of Arizona’s very own Beverly Seckinger, a professor of Theatre, Film and Television, gave us a welcoming glimpse of what life looks like at the The Ranch, a back-to-the-land-community based in remote New Mexico. The work was recently shown at The Loft Cinema.
In that hour, the film took us to a world that seems like it could only exist in the optimistic day dreams of what life could be. It took wasted no time giving us an intimate idea of what life is really like on The Ranch.
One of the opening scenes is a naked swim in a nearby stream. It’s not the kind of naked that your parents would make you cover your eyes for. It’s the kind of naked that immediately puts you at ease, like that is how everyone should be swimming.
It’s just a grandmother and her grandchildren, encompassing two of the three generations that have grown up at the ranch having a peaceful dip. The love and relaxation transcended from the ripples in the stream to the audience in their seats.
Immediately, I felt right at home. Not as if it was a home that I personally have ever known, but the kind of home the human spirit longs for, and rejoices in knowing that someone has made it, especially in an oppressive, cold, capitalism driven world we find ourselves in now. Traditional 9-to-5 jobs are out of the question.
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It makes you realize that there is so much more to life than just work, work, working to pay rent and pay endless bills from buying a bunch of crap you don’t really need and endebting yourself in an endless, empty cycle of materialism and consumerism. There is more time to love and appreciate everyone when you are not enslaved, selling all of your time for money just to get by.
What I drew as a hippy family value is valuing your family. It’s simplicity. These people seem truly happy to be apart of a community that loves and accepts each other, granting everyone the freedom to be who they truly are.
One of the kids (who is now an adult) grew up on The Ranch, reflects that what he got was a lot of time spent with his dad. A mother explains that she wanted to raise her children among other mothers. Loving each others children as much as their own.
The Ranch, like many other communities of its kind, was born to young rebellious “flower children” in their 20s and 30s. It was established in 1976 and unlike many other communities of its kind, is still around today.
Not all of the original “flounders” as they call them, are still around, but there are still some around and living the life that they sought for themselves in their youth as grandparents.
Though the life they are living on The Ranch seems liberating and the definition of meaningful and free, it does not come without its challenges. It is quite the commitment. Like not actually having money, in a money centered world around them.
Though they can escape “traditional” society and all of the BS that comes with being apart of it, time applies to The Ranch as well. They never thought that they would get old, but alas age has confronted them with challenges of its own, like mobility and physical labor demanded for upkeep of the ranch.
Though the future of The Ranch and its aging population is uncertain, I believe it is important to recognize that this off-the-grid lifestyle can actually be achieved. Much respect to the people that made The Ranch happen as well as those who keep it going. I wish they were accepting applications.
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