Discovery Center

A dream in the process of becoming true...

Latest update:
20 July 2001

I started writing this in March of 2001. Things then began happening soon after that. What I'm going to do here is just add things every once in a while so you can keep an eye on our ongoing process, sharing with us as we go...

21 March, 2001 A healing retreat center...
This is something I've wanted to do for many years - a dream coming true.
My friend, Lee Ehrheart, is looking for land on which to build a teaching/healing/retreat center. He has invited me to be his "number one ally" in this. So, although it is Lee's project, I'm getting to help with it. He is currently looking for a suitable piece of land in the Port Townsend area of Washington state. This is something I can help with because I'm in the area. So I check out places that are for sale and, if they look at all promising, Lee comes and looks too. So far we have found several places that were almost right, each with a serious flaw. But we feel we are getting closer, and the right thing will turn up before too long.
If we have our way, within a couple of years, we hope Lee will have a center where small classes (including Lee's and mine) and conferences can be held, and therapists in the healing arts can work. At this stage this is not so much a "plan" as a dream. The dream is that there will be a lovely garden to walk in, silent and inspiring places for meditation, beautiful rooms in which to learn and heal, and magical woods to explore. This is to be a place where healers and spiritual seekers and the folk of the Otherworld can all find a welcome. It is also to be a place where other educational and community activities can be shared.
Prayers, practical contributions, and good wishes would all be welcomed enthusiastically.

Mother's Day, May 2001
The more I look at land for Lee, the more I realize that I want a place for myself, too. Not necessarily connected to his and not to build a center on (I'm perfectly content to let him do that), but a place where I can plant apple trees and whatever else I fancy. A giant sequoia or two. Lilacs and lilies of the valley and stuff. A place where I'll be the caretaker of the land, a junior assistant to the Green Woman. So, I talked to my children, Jonathan and Nadine, about this, and they are willing to help me in various ways to make this dream a reality. Jonathan and Nadine are in the business of building houses, so there is a very great deal they can do to help. They are also old friends of Lee, so they were already primed to help and advise with his project, and are quite willing to help me too.
At the moment I am down with pneumonia, but house plans are dancing through my head. I've suggested to Lee that we might look for a bigger piece of land for him with the idea of legally splitting it and each owning half. This would give us a potentially larger space for outdoor healing center activities, and it might enhance our options as far as finding land is concerned. He is agreeable to that, but we will just have to wait and see what comes up.

7 July 2001
I've found some land! Jan Garing of Windemere (a most excellent, patient and helpful agent) in Port Townsend sent me to look at three parcels over at Cape George. I think it is perfect for what Lee wants but, of course, Lee has not seen it yet. However, I've spoken to Jon and Nadine and told them that one of these parcels is the land I want for myself, even if Lee doesn't fancy one of them for the center. We are agreed that we'll go ahead and try to secure one of these lots for me, but first I'll see if Lee wants one of the lots too, and if so, which one, because he has first crack at this.

This is it!

9 July 2001
Lee has looked at the land, and he agrees that this is as good a spot as we are likely to find and a better place than anywhere else we have looked at. The longer we both look at it, the more we like it. So, we are to be next-door neighbors, if all goes well. I suppose a little description of it (and perhaps a map) is appropriate here.
The picture above is Lee's land, taken from just about where the healing center will be, looking out over Discovery Bay. This is the most cleared area on the two parcels. Lee plans to create a botanical garden on the grassy slope just below the center itself - a place where people can sit and chat or meditate or simply sit basking in the sun with the plants.
Both Lee's land and mine are long and fairly narrow rectangles - approximately 218' x 660' - with the long way going up the slope and the road frontage on the narrow bit. Mine is mostly treed with thick undergrowth, and Lee's is partially cleared. There are madronas, fir, cedar, and some others that I'm not sure about. They are also a lot of rhododendrons, which probably covered the land just after the land was clear cut about thirty years ago. Now the rhodies are shaded by the trees and need to be seriously thinned.

The picture on the right is of one of the paths that connects the two properties. The leaning tree with the red ribbons on it is approximately where the actual boundary between the two is.

10 July 2001
Nadine and Jonathan came over from Duvall today and looked over the land with us. They agree that this is a good place for what we want to do. They also went over the contracts for the offers we are thinking about making later tonight and explained the provisions to us, clarifying and suggesting improvements. What a wonderful thing it is to have helpful experts in the family!

11 July 2001
Yesterday evening Lee signed an offer on the property he wants (3.45 acres) and this morning I signed one for my bit (3.33 acres). The offers have now gone to the sellers for their response. We expect a counter-offer, but are hoping this will all go through quickly, even if Mars is retrograde and the moon is waning at the moment.

19 July 2001
At last! At 12.47 today (shortly after Mars finally went direct and the moon started waxing) I got the news that our offers have finally been accepted, and immediately phoned Lee to pass the word on. This is after much to-ing and fro-ing of counter offers and counter-counter offers up to the seventh power. Whew! We felt sure this was going to work, but the details were tricky to work out. Buying "vacant" land is much more complicated than buying a house, which seems backwards, but that is how it is.
"Vacant" is a bit of a misnomer as far as I'm concerned... there are Presences and presences on that land. They seem pleased to have us there. Hopefully, as our plans unfold they will be even happier with us. We plan to be good caretakers. The big madrona tree to the right grows just beside where I plan to put my house. She is one of the Grandmother trees on the properties. I should have put a person in the photo, just to show how very tall she is, but you'll just have to assume that for now.
The next thing now is the "feasibility study" - in detail, can this land support what we want to do? We are pretty certain it can, but we have to get in a plethora of different experts to prove it to the county and state so we can get building permits. We also need estimates on the costs of necessary things like electricity, phones, et cetera, and we have to actually drill a well. We need to investigate county and state requirements in more detail. Buncha stuff! The first thing is to get a good survey done. Hopefully, that will happen in the next week or two. The projected closing date for the escrow (when the feasibility study is done and the land becomes ours) is 1 October. There is a lot to do before then. Prayers and healing support for the project will be most welcome.

27 July 2001
We are making headway. Though we still have a long way to go on the purchase of the land and feasibility study, today Lee is picking up the first load of building materials - some surplus of Jonathan and Nadine's building project. It is entirely delightful that the first tangible contribution to the center and to Lee's home and to my home comes from them. Tomorrow, Lee will bring it to my house for temporary storage until we can begin using it on the land in October (we trust!). Monday, Lee and I will talk with his architect friend, Bjorn Lundy, and walk over the land again. We also need, this weekend, to get a dowser out, decide where the well is going to go, and work out how the well drillers are going to get in there amongst all the trees to do it. Though we have lots of time (!!!) there is a bit of a push to get certain decisions made because Lee is about to go off to Australia for five weeks, and quite a few things, including the well, have to be done while he is away.

Your comments will be read with interest.